LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for a fresh start this season after getting hit with a rash of injuries the previous year. But it looks like the injury bug has returned just as they've resumed on-court action.
“Trevor Ariza had an arthroscopic debridement procedure performed on his right ankle today,” per the Lakers press release. “He is expected to make a full and complete recovery. Team doctors will reevaluate Ariza in approximately 8 weeks, and an update will be provided at that time.”
While the Lakers' starting lineup isn't set in stone and it was unclear whether Ariza would have been a part of it, the veteran would have definitely gotten decent minutes within LA's rotation. Ariza played a key role for the Miami Heat last season, averaging 28 minutes per contest while acting as the ideal veteran 3-and-D wing.
It's definitely a tough blow as Ariza's floor-spacing and defensive chops complement the high-usage players the Lakers have littered throughout their roster. LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Davis need players who can do the dirty work and hit open shots as they do most of the heavy lifting.
The Lakers do still have guys like Kent Bazemore and Wayne Ellington to try and fill that role while Trevor Ariza recovers. Early season rotations are bound to be fluid as coach Frank Vogel figures out the best way to maximize the roster. Hopefully, this injury setback will be a rare blip for the purple and gold this season.