Lakers injury updates: Bradley probable with thumb injury, Ariza cleared for non-contact practice

Ariza
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Los Angeles Lakers are 3-1 in their last four games. The lone loss in that stretch could have been avoided, so that stings a bit. However, it is the way the Lakers have played that has been encouraging. After being down at halftime against the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers roared back to win that game comfortably. Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis have looked much better as of later while LeBron James is due back on Friday. There is definitely a glimmer of hope for the Lakers after such a tumultuous start. It also helps that players like Avery Bradley and Trevor Ariza could be back on the floor soon.

Since the start of training camp, bodies for the Lakers have been dropping like flies. That really did not help morale considering this roster was criticized for being too old. Slowly but surely, they have started to come back. Also, the Lakers were very fortunate that LeBron was able to test negative multiple times and return to action. One name in particular that most have been anxiously waiting for is the former champion Ariza. He is getting closer to returning and doing non-contact drills according to the team (h/tHarrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll):

While he still has that ramp up period left, it’s encouraging to hear Ariza is progressing as he recovers from ankle surgery. The Lakers could desperately use Ariza, who will likely find his way to the starting line-up once he is ready. While he is 36, Ariza is still known for his defensive prowess and ability to knock down the long ball.

His addition to the line-up will give Vogel some much needed depth at the wing spot. Carmelo Anthony has been holding it down, but he can’t do it all. Ariza abilities make him a prime player to start and finish games. He can spread the floor and take on tough defensive assignments.

Another player the Lakers will get back sooner than initially anticipated is Bradley, who will not be needing surgery on his UCL after all:

Bradley has not been very good according to the metrics. Granted, he has spurts where he shows he can still be a valuable player, but the numbers don’t lie. Bradley is better suited for a much more limited role, but has had to play heavy minutes given all the injuries to the roster.

The veteran guard is listed as probable for Friday’s game against the Clippers.

The one player that does not have a definitive timetable is Kendrick Nunn, who was expected to be a contributor on this team. Hopefully he is able to make some progress and get some time on the floor to start building that chemistry. It’s been a difficult 23 games for the Lakers and the fan base, but as long as they are healthy, which is a lot to ask for, you have to like their chances.

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