The 2016-17 season for the Los Angeles Lakers has been anything but smooth. Upon their surprising 10-10 start, injuries plagued this team and grounded their results. Now, rookie head coach Luke Walton is attempting to help the young core grow, while putting a winning team on the floor each game.
The starting lineup has witnessed both D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young out for an extended time, while Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov have missed relatively little action. Through the ups and downs, forward Luol Deng was viewed as a fixture in the lineup, as he only missed two games due to a biceps injury and rest.
However, news on Tuesday may result in some more adjustments in the rotation for Walton. Deng, who suffered a wrist injury during their previous game against the Detroit Pistons, is now being ruled out indefinitely, via Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet:
Deng injured the wrist two days ago vs. Detroit. X-rays were negative and he is out indefinitely, according to the Lakers.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 18, 2017
Deng was ruled out for Tuesday’s contest against the Denver Nuggets just an hour before tip off, as the wrist injury provided enough evidence for the training staff, Walton and Deng to all agree on him not playing.
The 13-year NBA veteran has had stretches of production for the Lakers, as a part of an otherwise inconsistent starting lineup. Upon a horrid first two months of the season, Deng had an outburst in the month of December.
During the 16 games that month, he averaged 10.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He credited the recent success to getting familiar with Walton’s system, while also building chemistry with his new teammates.
With Deng sidelined for the immediate future, expect rookie Brandon Ingram to see increased minutes on the court, in the point-forward role he has captivated in Walton’s system.
In 43 games played this season, Deng is averaging 8.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.6 minutes per game.