Lakers News: Frank Vogel Updates Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley Injury Recoveries

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 3, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' Avery Bradley during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

This past offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers were quite active during free agency, bringing in multiple role players to fill out their rotation. They had the core to build around (LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook), so these additions were the types of moves they needed to make.

However, the Lakers have yet to see what their team can look like at full strength so far in the 2021-22 season. They've had numerous players miss time with injuries, including several of their free-agent acquisitions. For example, Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn have yet to even suit up for Los Angeles this year.

Eventually, the Lakers hope to get everybody healthy, and then they can figure out their best possible rotation as they try to make a push for a second NBA title in three seasons. But now in early December, they're not at that point quite yet.

Los Angeles is getting closer, though, and head coach Frank Vogel updated the status of some injured players when speaking to the media on Thursday.

Ariza, who underwent right ankle surgery in early October, is getting closer to a full recovery. And Vogel seemed encouraged by the 36-year-old forward's progress this week.

"Trevor did, for the first time this season, participate in practice on a non-contact basis, but most of practice was non-contact, so he was in just about everything and obviously a lot of different movements go into that," Vogel said, per Christian Rivas of Silver Screen & Roll. "He's still a ways away, he still has a build-up period before we can expect him to be in the lineup, but definitely a positive step forward."

This is Ariza's second stint with the Lakers, as he played 106 games for them from 2007-09. He's been a solid contributor for other teams in recent years, and he could provide a boost on the wing for Los Angeles once he can get back.

Vogel also updated the status of guard Avery Bradley, who is dealing with a UCL sprain in his right thumb. But the news regarding the 31-year-old was positive.

"Avery got further evaluation," Vogel said, per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll. "He is not going to need surgery, so that is really positive news for us. He's going to be available, but will play in a splint if we use him. I haven't decided if I'm going to give him some further time to let it heal up some more."

Vogel added that Bradley may need some more time to let the injury heal, but it wouldn't be known if that was the case until Friday. Still, it was an encouraging development to know that he won't need surgery.

Bradley has played in 21 games and made 16 starts for the Lakers this season, and he's averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest. He's in his second stint with Los Angeles after playing 49 games for the team during the 2019-20 season.

So Bradley may be back soon, Ariza is making progress and the Lakers' health is improving. Perhaps that will lead to them getting on a roll later in the season, as they've been a bit inconsistent during their 12-11 start.