The Los Angeles Lakers have been a favorite target of the ravenous injury bug this season, losing one player after another to his terrible bite. It’s been a challenge for the young team to adjust to ever-changing lineups, which has certainly been a factor in their recent slide.
Against the Charlotte Hornets last week, power forward Larry Nance Jr. went down with a non-contact injury to his knee, and an MRI the next day didn’t reveal anything conclusive. Since then, Nance has been out with what has been described as a bone bruise and today a timeframe was revealed via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell:
From the Lakers: "The diagnosis is a bone bruise, and Nance Jr. is expected to be out approximately four weeks."
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 26, 2016
Losing Nance has been a major blow for the Lakers. While he comes off the bench behind Julius Randle and doesn’t always stuff the stat line, his impact on the floor is immense.
Alongside Tarik Black, who has also missed time with an ankle injury, Los Angeles is able to deploy a pair of agile bigs who excel at switching the pick and roll defensively. Additionally, Nance’s ability to soar above the rim provides the Lakers with the kinds of play that gets fans out of their seats.
Without his services, Los Angeles will have to rely on Thomas Robinson to help pick up the slack down low. Luol Deng should also see a few extra minutes at power forward, and rookie Brandon Ingram has the potential to slide down as well.
Fortunately, the injury initially looked like it could have been much worse. While it won’t be easy to get by without a major piece like Nance, the Lakers will have to figure out a way to get the job done and pick up a few wins.