Lakers injury updates: Bradley likely with thumb injury, Ariza cleared to non-contact training

(AP Photo / Marcio José Sanchez)

The Los Angeles Lakers are 3-1 in their last four games. The only loss in this stretch could have been avoided, so it stings a bit. However, it was the way the Lakers played that was encouraging. After being at halftime against the Sacramento Kings, the Lakers roared to win this game comfortably. Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis look much better later while LeBron James is due back on Friday. There is definitely a silver lining for the Lakers after such a tumultuous start. It also helps that players like Avery Bradley and Trevor Ariza could be back on the pitch soon.

Since the start of training camp, the bodies of the Lakers have been falling like flies. It really didn’t help morale given that this list has been criticized for being too old. Slowly but surely they started to come back. Additionally, the Lakers were very lucky that LeBron was able to test negative results multiple times and return to action. One name in particular that most have been eagerly awaiting is former champion Ariza. He gets closer to the return and does non-contact exercises depending on the team (h / tHarrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll):

While he still has that period of building up, it’s heartening to hear Ariza’s progress as he recovers from ankle surgery. The Lakers could desperately use Ariza, who will likely find his way to the starting lineup once he’s ready. As 36 years old, Ariza is still known for his defensive prowess and ability to knock down the long ball.

Adding it to the roster will give Vogel some much needed kite depth. Carmelo Anthony has held on, but he can’t do it all. Ariza’s abilities make him a top player to start and end games. He can expand the terrain and take on tough defensive missions.

Another player the Lakers will be returning to sooner rather than later is Bradley, who ultimately won’t need surgery on his UCL:

Bradley was not very good on the metrics. Granted, he’s got spurts where he’s showing he can still be a valuable player, but the numbers don’t lie. Bradley is better suited for a much more limited role, but had to play heavy minutes given all of the roster’s injuries.

The veteran guard is listed as probable for Friday’s game against the Clippers.

The only player who doesn’t have a definitive schedule is Kendrick Nunn, who was supposed to be a contributor to this squad. Hopefully he’s able to make some progress and have some time in the field to start building that chemistry. It’s been a tough 23 games for the Lakers and the fanbase, but as long as they’re healthy, which is a lot to ask, you have to love their chances.

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