There have been a number of issues to plague the Los Angeles Lakers already throughout this early season and one of the biggest has been injuries. Even before the season started, the Lakers were ravaged with issues to Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn, Wayne Ellington and Talen Horton-Tucker.
It was Horton-Tucker who was perhaps the most disappointing of those injuries as he was someone the Lakers were looking to take a serious leap this season. The third-year guard needed thumb surgery, but has been progressing ever since and now seems to be moving closer towards a return.
Head coach Frank Vogel says that Horton-Tucker will be cleared for contact starting on Tuesday’s practice.
“Yeah, so Talen’s going to be cleared for contact tomorrow, which is exciting. We don’t really have any timetable as to when he’ll return to game action, that’ll take some time, but he’s gonna be cleared to practice tomorrow.”
Getting Horton-Tucker back will be a huge boost for the Lakers as the team has been extremely thin on the wings throughout this season. Vogel has had to turn to Austin Reaves and Rajon Rondo to fill backcourt minutes and while they have held up, with Reaves in particular surprising many with his play, a Horton-Tucker return will do a lot to solidify things.
Expecting him to immediately step in and play big minutes might be too much, however, and Vogel will be sure to work him up slowly, but made it clear he is a big part of this team.
“We’ll see, we’ll have to have a period where we’re going to have to work him back in, that’s always an adjustment period when a guy’s been out for a period of time. But he’s definitely one of our rotation players and we’ll see how that goes when we bring him back,” Vogel added after shootaround Monday.
There is undoubtedly some concern building around the Lakers with this start during what was viewed as an extremely favorable opening schedule, along with the ongoing injury issues that continue to hurt the team. Getting Horton-Tucker back in the fold certainly doesn’t solve everything, but the Lakers getting healthy as a whole will give a much better view of how this team could look at its best.
Anthony says Lakers must continue to compete amidst injuries
The mounting issues have majorly contributed to the slow start, but Carmelo Anthony believes the Lakers can’t use that as an excuse. Players do seem to be on the mend and could be back soon, but Anthony insists that the Lakers have to compete and play hard regardless of who is suiting up each night.
“You don’t know who’s going to be in there,” Anthony noted. “We can’t control injuries, we can’t control what guys are going through physically. So it is next-man-up. It sounds cliche, but it is what it is. But we still got to go out there and compete.”
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