The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t sustained any injuries in the preseason, which is basically the best thing you can say about the short NBA opening that means nothing for the season as a whole. Sadly, however, it appears the team has had an injury happen in the practice facility, as the team reported that Trevor Ariza went through an arthroscopic procedure on his right ankle which will sideline him for at least eight weeks (h/t Mike Trudell of the Lakers).
Trevor Ariza out at least 8 weeks after an ankle surgery pic.twitter.com/bc1OkIQvNS
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) October 7, 2021
Trevor Ariza had been held out of the Lakers’ first two preseason games (Sunday against the Nets and earlier tonight against the Suns) due to an ankle injury Frank Vogel revealed a couple of practices ago.
The news is a huge blow for the Lakers, a team already dealt with a challenge in trying to get these unfamiliar players on the same page before the season starts. Frank Vogel will now have to figure out how to proceed with a player who was reportedly likely to start alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Wayne Ellington.
December 1st is eight weeks away. If Ariza can play right after that date, he will have missed 23 games of the season. It would be an especially tough blow to the Lakers’ defense. Ariza factored to be one of the key members of Vogel’s defense given the fact he is one of the few wing defenders on the team (something I wrote about on Silver Screen & Roll).
We’ll have to see if the Lakers make a corresponding move for a wing in the free agent market now that they are down one in a roster with few other options (Kent Bazemore is really the only other true wing while LeBron and Carmelo Anthony are more likely to be at the 4 mostly). They recently signed Frank Mason III to a training camp deal, but he is a true point guard. However, they’d have to fill the 15th, final roster spot to sign someone, something that Rob Pelinka has stated that he doesn’t want to do before the season starts.
Either way, the news is very sad for Ariza. Hopefully he’s back at 110% right at that eight week mark.