Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart recently stated that his strained ankle tendon is not affecting him as much now.
In Thursday night’s victory, Hart tallied 13 points, one rebound, and two assists for the purple and gold. While the latter two statistics may seem modest, the second-year talent played solid defense throughout.
In his 25 minutes of action, Hart accumulated three steals. This is incredibly encouraging to see because the last time he had three steals was on November 4 versus Toronto.
Watching him get 25 minutes was another positive worth noting. Hart has not been on the court that long since L.A. visited South Beach on November 18.
For those who may have forgotten, the 6-foot-5 baller sustained an ankle injury on November 21. In particular, the injury he got was labeled as a strained ankle tendon.
As a result, the few games subsequent to the November 21 matchup were not Hart’s best performances by any means.
For example, on November 23 and 25, Hart did not drop any points for the Lakers. Granted he is not a primary scoring option for Los Angeles, it shows that there was a small stretch where the ankle was bothersome.
Thankfully, the game against Indiana was a much different story. Hart looked a lot more agile than has been the case of late. He knocked down a trey as well for the Lakers, his first since the squad went to Miami.
Per Matthew Moreno of Lakers Nation, Hart recently commented on the overall state of his ankle. According to the 23-year-old, the injury was not too big of a factor in Thursday evening’s game.
“The ankle felt good. It was a good test running around with Bogdanovic and Doug, so it was a good test,” Hart said. “Felt good, felt encouraging.”
Although it is a small sample size, it is promising to hear these words from Josh. His numbers versus Indiana speak for themselves, and one can only hope the production will continue.
Hart is well-aware of the value he brings to the table for the Lakers. After Thursday night’s contest, he asserted that a big part of his job is to play with “intensity.”
“If I’m out there, I’ve got to help this team,” Hart said Thursday. “If I can’t play how I normally play, with the intensity and attitude that I normally play with, then I’ve got to sit down.
“Because if I don’t do that, I’m only hurting the team. Some days I probably could’ve rested and let other guys fill that position but I’m moving on. I feel good.”
The sheer fact that Hart once again revealed that his body feels “good” is relieving. He is a crucial component to the Lakers’ second unit and is known for his spurts of energy.
Given that his ankle appears to be improving, the Lakers need Hart to replicate how he did versus the Pacers. He is a major part of the Lakers’ young core. Therefore, he needs to consistently perform as well as he says he currently feels.
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