The Los Angeles Lakers have been ravaged by injuries so far this season and the first major one to occur came before the regular season began. Trevor Ariza underwent ankle surgery during the preseason and was expected to be out around two months.
He has been making progress since then and recently returned to practice on a non-contact basis.
Ariza was expected to play a big role for this team with many believing he would potentially be in the starting lineup for his defense and reliable 3-point shooting. But without the ability to help there, Ariza has been trying to find any way to help the Lakers while on the sideline.
“It sucks to be out, especially being in the position that we are in right now, but that happens,” Ariza said recently. “It’s basketball, sports injuries happen. So I guess the thing I can look at our try to look at to make it easier is to try to find other ways to help our team whether it be being on the sideline talking, being on the sideline watching the game, and trying to give a different perspective.”
With 17 NBA seasons under his belt, Ariza undoubtedly has a lot to offer with what he is seeing. Helping out some of the younger wings like Malik Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves can only benefit the Lakers as a whole. But with the team continuing to struggle, Ariza admits it is difficult not being able to help.
“It’s definitely frustrating, especially because there is so many different things we can do with the full roster,” the veteran added. “But again, it’s God’s time whenever he decides to allow my body to heal. When it needs to heal for me to perform at the highest level to be able to help our team.”
But even with all of the struggles the Lakers are going to, Ariza believes this team has the talent to be great once fully healthy. “Of course, any time that when you are a competitor period you just feel like you give your team a better chance of winning when you are out there,” Ariza said. “This team is extremely talented has a lot of different weapons.
“It takes time to build chemistry, it takes time to bring things together and we haven’t done it with a full roster yet, so I bring a completely different element to this team, so hopefully, when I am able to participate, Kendrick [Nunn] is able to come back and play, who gives us another different element to this team, the little things that we do can kind of put our team together.”
Both Ariza and Kendrick Nunn have the capabilities to help the Lakers once they return, particularly on the defensive end. It seems as if Ariza is inching closer to making his season debut and both he and the Lakers are looking forward to that day.
Ariza making progress after ankle surgery
Ariza recently spoke to the media and gave an update on how he is progressing since that ankle surgery in October.
“I’ve been as of late just starting to run on my own,” Ariza said. “Been on the court shooting. Going through movements that I will probably have to get used to doing again. Conditioning, sprinting, lifting, shooting. A whole lot of that.
Despite improving, however, Ariza doesn’t yet have an idea on a potential return date. “I don’t have a definite date or anything like that. It’s all on what the doctors clear, the way my body feels and responds to more work. That’s kind of like the gauge of when I’ll be able to be out there safely.”
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