Massive Lakers injury update bodes well for title dreams

The Lakers' playoff odds are about to get a massive boost.

Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham
Los Angeles Lakers, Darvin Ham / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers need every win they can muster down the stretch. It may not be enough to climb out of ninth in the Western Conference, but the franchise faces two must-win games in the Play-In Tournament if they do not move up. Injuries have not helped. The Lakers still believe they can make a playoff run, but the franchise needs momentum to have any shot.

Gabe Vincent was the team’s marquee offseason addition, but things have been disastrous thus far. The 6’3 guard played in just four games before missing six weeks with a knee injury. In his first game back, the injury returned and caused him to have surgery. He was ruled out for six to eight weeks in early December, but Vincent still has not returned.

The latest conflicts with a recent report and could have Vincent back in short order, which is massive for the Lakers because they need his ball-handling and clutch playoff experience.

The Lakers may get Gabe Vincent back in the next week

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported Vincent could rejoin the team on their current six-game road trip if he continues to improve. They are currently heading east for a swing that ends in Washington D.C. on April 3. He has not played since Dec. 20, so fans should expect a slow ramp-up process, but getting him back on the floor is massive for the struggling Lakers.

This contradicts a report from Bill Reiter of CBS, which ruled Christian Wood, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Vincent out of the season. That is clearly not true and should be a massive sight of relief for Lakers supporters.

Vincent is in the first season of a three-year contract worth $33 million. He earned the significant raise after helping the Miami Heat reach the NBA Finals in 2023. The 27-year-old started in every game he played during their postseason run where he averaged 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 30.5 minutes per game. Vincent sank several clutch shots and played a crucial role in their improbable finals run.

He could be returning at just the right time for the Lakers. Gabe Vincent will have roughly two weeks to ramp up before the Play-In Tournament begins. The pressure will be on LA from the jump, but having another ball-handler and clutch shot-maker will be massive in lessening the loads on LeBron James and Anthony Davis. D’Angelo Russell is heating up, and Austin Reaves is a proven scorer. The Lakers get even more dangerous after adding Gabe Vincent.

Could the franchise make another improbable deep playoff run after last season’s march to the conference finals? Do not rule it out.