Lakers’ Christian Wood, Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent to miss rest of the season

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The Lakers will be without Christian Wood, Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent for the remainder of the season, per CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter. Wood is undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee and is expected to miss several weeks, per ESPN. 

It would be a tough blow to L.A.’s depth if all three players miss the rest of the season, including the play-in and playoffs if the Lakers make it that far. With 13 games remaining in the regular season, Los Angeles holds a slim lead over Golden State for the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference.

Vincent hasn’t played since Oct. 30 after suffering a knee injury and was only cleared a week ago for non-contact work, so the likelihood that he would return was already slim given that timeline. Vanderbilt’s been dealing with a mid-foot sprain and has been out since Feb. 1, though there was hope he could return sometime this season. Lakers coach Darvin Ham also said prior to L.A’s game against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday that both Vincent and Vanderbilt were progressing “according to plan.”

With Vincent being out since the beginning of the season and Wood not making a substantial impact, the biggest loss here is, without a doubt, Vanderbilt. When healthy, Vanderbilt was L.A.’s best perimeter defender, and since he’s been sidelined, the Lakers defense has ranked 27th in the league. When he was on the floor this season, the Lakers defense allowed six fewer points per 100 possessions compared to when he was on the bench.

While Wood has taken a step back in terms of production and playing time this season, not having him is still a loss, given the depth he provides L.A. In his absence, we could see more minutes for Jaxson Hayes, who has already seen an increase in playing time this month.

None of this is official yet, but with the Lakers needing to go through the play-in to secure a postseason spot, this isn’t ideal news at this point in the season.

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