After today’s practice session, Coach Jackson said that he expects to use Trevor Ariza at some point against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
“He played well today,” said Jackson. “I think there’s a good chance Trevor will be available and ready to play.”
Jackson declined to comment on whether or not Ariza would see playing time in Game 1 tomorrow.
Trevor Ariza’s second practice since being cleared to resume basketball activities went better than the first.
Trevor was back on the practice court Thursday afternoon working with the teammates that have been without him for almost four months as he recovered from a fractured right foot.
“I definitely feel more comfortable because I had a lot of time off so I’ve had a lot of time to watch and a lot of time to do everything,” said Ariza as the team finished up practice and hopped a flight to Salt Lake for Friday’s Game 6.
“I can’t even describe how happy I am. I’ve been out for almost four months, this is big for me.”
There is no definitive timetable for the Forward’s return and Head Coach Phil Jackson is looking for incremental improvement before throwing Ariza back into the fire of playoff basketball.
“We’ll just go a day at a time with this,” said Jackson. “By his own admission, he thought it take him a week. I was kidding about it probably taking two or three weeks to get ready to play and he said maybe a week.”
Getting back in the groove after missing so much time won’t be an easy task. “My foot feels fine, I don’t feel any pain in my foot, but as far as my wind and conditioning, that’s going to be the tough part,” said Ariza.
When asked if he had told Jackson of his desire to play Friday Trevor answered, “He knows how I feel and if he decides to play me I’ll be ready.”
After today’s practice, Lakers spokesman John Black said that Trevor Ariza has been cleared for full-contact practice. Although the broken bone in his foot has yet to fully heal, Ariza is not at risk for further injuring his foot.
After participating in his first practice today, Coach Jackson said, “He got out there today a little bit and tried to shake off three months of rust, maybe even more…three and a half months…and he’s got time to work at his game and this will give him a little edge about going forward.”
With Ariza potentially available should the Lakers advance in the Western Conference playoffs, Jackson said he isn’t sure yet when he’ll be able to use the athletic forward in live game play.
“We really can’t put a timeframe on it,” said Jackson. “I said a week or two and he said one week so we’ll just see what it’s going to be.”
Continue reading ‘Trevor Ariza Injury Update’
Lakers Forward Trevor Ariza used this trip to Utah to get a second opinion on the injured right foot that has kept him off the floor since January 20th.
The prognosis: conflicting.
“There’s a fault line there, I’ll use that term, there’s a small line in that break. There’s been some suggestion that perhaps this is as good as it’s going to heal,” said Phil Jackson. “Perhaps he doesn’t have to be as cautious as was suggested before.”
Jackson went on to stress Ariza’s long term importance to the team.
“This is a territory of the anatomy that you don’t just go in and put a screw in and it heals itself. He’s had a break there once and we’re trying to be real cautious because he’s a young guy.”
Because of the differing opinions the team will likely seek a third opinion before deciding on a course of action.
Ariza originally injured the foot after coming down awkwardly on Derek Fisher’s foot in practice.
Lakers.com reflects on the team’s tremendous ’07-’08 campaign, doling out its end of the season awards.
Most Improved: Andrew Bynum
Prior to his knee injury mid-way through the season, the Lakers phenom was well on his way to a breakout season, carving his place as one of the NBA’s best up-and-coming big men. Although his averages of 13 points and 10 rebounds for the season are more than solid, #17 improved each month prior to his injury, capped off by his outstanding month of January in which he put up over 17 points and 12 rebounds a game. With no signs of slowing down any time soon, who knows where his numbers would have ended up this season had he not missed the final 46 games.
Most Surprising: Sasha Vujacic
Even though he was heading into a contract year, few experts or fans had any reason to expect much from the Slovenian guard. Once labeled an “11:00 a.m.” player by Coach Jackson, Sasha has shredded the title this season, finally becoming the sharpshooter the Lakers thought they signed four years ago, putting up nine points a game on 44% shooting from beyond the arc. Whereas only a season ago, Vujacic was one of the last men off of the bench, it is now not uncommon to see Sasha playing critical minutes as a key part of the Lakers’ rotation.
Most Disappointing: Luke Walton
With Odom injured at the start of last season, Kobe desperately needed a teammate that could help keep the Lakers afloat in the über competitive Western Conference. Enter: Luke Walton. For most of last season, the forward was arguably the second best player to don the purple and gold, finally combining his widely discussed basketball IQ with a vastly improved offensive repertoire. However, this season has brought on one disappointment after another for Walton as injuries and a lack of confidence have derailed much of the momentum he established last season. On the year, Luke is averaging only seven points and four rebounds.
Continue reading ‘End of Season Awards’
Injury Update: Before tonight’s pivotal game against the Hornets, Coach Jackson said that Trevor Ariza will be re-examined in 2 weeks to check on the progress of his broken foot, after receiving word today that the fracture has yet to fully heal. With regards to injured center Andrew Bynum, Jackson said that he was justifiably disappointed after learning this weekend that he has not been cleared to play yet.
Jackson also discussed Chris Mihm’s ongoing return from injury, revealing that, “Right now, D.J. (Mbenga) is probably a little more active, a little more in condition in game shape than Chris is right now. But we’re still bringing Chris along in hopes that he’ll be there to help shore up our front court.”
Jackson compared this season’s final push to 15 years ago when his Chicago Bulls faced off against the New York Knicks in the final game of the season with the conference record yet to be decided and Scottie Pippen in the thick of the Most Valuable Player debate.
When asked about the team’s game plan tonight against point guard Chris Paul, Jackson said, “The thought process is to stop his penetration. What happens after that, try and close down on the shooters, yes. Try and limit the amount of lobs and dunks, of course. If that means he has got to take shots, that’ll be part of it, but not to let him score or really let him do anything hopefully.”
Lakers forward Trevor Ariza had a CT scan this morning on his injured right foot that showed that the bone has still not healed completely.
Ariza continues to rehab with the Lakers training staff and has been cleared to increase his work on the team’s Alter-G treadmill from 70-80% of his body weight this week to 90% next week.
Trevor was injured in practice on January 20th when he landed awkwardly on teammate Derek Fisher’s foot and fractured the fourth metatarsal in his right foot.
Before tonight’s game against the Mavericks, Coach Jackson addressed Trevor Ariza’s injury status as the team heads into the final seven games of the season. “I don’t think there’s any chance he’ll be back for the regular season,” said Jackson.
Jackson said that Ariza is scheduled to have another diagnostic test soon to determine whether or not his broken foot has heeled compleetly, noting that this is a very important “healing period of time” for the forward.
Jackson also said that he believes Ariza will be able to reintegrate himself quickly into the Lakers lineup once is cleared to play.
Before tonight’s game against the Blazers, Coach Jackson said that Pau Gasol will suit up for the home team, but he won’t know until he steps onto the floor how much he’ll be able to contribute. “It’ll be up to him a lot of it, if he can come back in the game, how we play him…if the substitute that goes in for him plays well,” said Jackson. “But, we’re hoping to play him 16 to 25 minutes…” Jackson also noted that Gasol has looked tentative in practice this week and has yet to “throw himself into it” yet.
Jackson also assessed the current race for MVP, particularly with regards to the Lakers’ own candidate, Kobe Bryant. Jackson said that this was “Kobe’s best year ever as far as being an overall team player. The judgment that I make is how much better do you make your teammates and this has been one of Kobe’s finer years in that regard.” Jackson also said that he thinks Kobe’s best chance at the award prior to this season was in 2005-2006 when he led the league in scoring and scored 81 points in a single game.
Even with Trevor Ariza out with injury, Jackson said he was content with the Lakers’ recent production from the small forward spot. Jackson praised both Luke Walton and Vladimir Radmanovic, both of which had outstanding games against Washington on Sunday night.
Before the fourth and final game of the season between the Sonics and the Lakers, Coach Jackson provided updates op the injury status of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Jackson said that Bynum continues to progress, working out on the treadmill and shooting on the floor. Jackson said that Gasol was on the floor doing some things today, with his activity level continuing to increase. According to the Lakers coach, he’s not anticipating that Pau will play in the home-and-home against Golden State beginning this Sunday, but it would be a welcome surprise.
With the addition of Ira Newble–signed to a 10-day contract today–Jackson said that he expects the forward to contribute, but it will be difficult at first with only a limited shooting practice before tonight’s game. “He’s just there to protect our roster right now…he’s an experienced player that ca go and do some things, cover some of our patches if we have some over the course of the game,” said Jackson.
“Hopefully in the next week, he’ll have an opportunity to play a couple of times…” Jackson praised Newble’s ability to guard opponents’ toughest players, saying, “He’s a defensive player, noted for his defense. He’s had some good games against us as a player in the past.” After Kobe, Jackson said that Sasha is the Lakers’ lone defender at the wing spot with Ariza still out with injury, so Newble will serve as a stopgap in case Trevor is unable to return this season.
Continue reading ‘Lakers vs. Sonics Pre-Game’