The addition of LeBron James has reinvigorated a fanbase desperate for a superstar since Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Keeping LeBron healthy and happy will be a primary focus for Marco Nunez, a task that could prove tricky considering his career workload. Fortunately the Lakers medical team has performed well since Nunez took over from the esteemed athletic trainer Gary Vitti. In both his seasons at the helm the Lakers have finished in the top ten for fewest games and salary dollars lost to injury or illness.
Now the Lakers medical team will feel the pressure of expectations as they look to manage the health of a roster compromised of both young talent and seasoned veterans. So far the younger generation has been the bigger challenge. Rookie forward Mo Wagner is still sidelined by a knee bone contusion sustained in Summer League. Second-year point guard Lonzo Ball has also been limited following offseason meniscus surgery. However, it appears as though Ball’s delayed recovery was by design as the medical staff opted for a conservative approach with the former second overall pick. Easing Ball back into basketball shape should help insure his long-term status and help the Lakers contend for their first playoff berth since 2013.