The Lakers are bracing to be without forward Jarred Vanderbilt for a significant time, people familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told The Times on Friday.
Vanderbilt suffered a noncontact injury to his right foot during the first half of the Lakers’ upset win in Boston on Thursday. While X-rays were negative, there’s fear that further evaluation will reveal bad news and an extended absence.
No official statement on his status has been delivered. According to ESPN, the injury is in Vanderbilt’s mid-foot area and might require season-ending surgery.
Vanderbilt missed the first 20 games this season because of a heel injury in his left foot. During his absence, his defensive versatility, ability to force turnovers and rebounding were sorely missed.
Over the last 12 games, Vanderbilt averaged 8.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals. He was a plus-30 in 41 minutes against Golden State in the first game of the Lakers’ current six-game road trip.
The Lakers and Vanderbilt agreed to a four-year, $48-million extension this offseason. He and free-agent acquisition Gabe Vincent were penciled in as the Lakers’ primary point-of-attack defenders this season.
With the team having just two games before the trade deadline, the Lakers could turn their attention on two-way wings on the market.
Brooklyn’s Dorian Finney-Smith, 30, is shooting 38.3% from three-point range this season while being regarded as a versatile defender with size. Toronto’s Bruce Brown, who was acquired in the Pascal Siakam trade, has been a Lakers target in the past.