The Los Angeles Lakers have dealt with a ton of injuries over the last month to seemingly every rotation player. The latest major one occurred last week against the Charlotte Hornets when Larry Nance Jr. planted oddly on his left knee while chasing a loose ball and immediately asked to be taken out of the game.
After fears that he could potentially be out for the year, the Lakers officially diagnosed Nance with a bone bruise in his left knee which will keep him out approximately four weeks.
While Nance is obviously not happy with being out that long, he admitted to Mark Medina of the OC Register that the diagnosis could’ve been much worse:
“I’m glad it wasn’t longer, to be honest with you,” Nance told Southern California News Group following the Lakers’ 111-102 win over the Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center. “It could’ve been much worse. So it is what it is.”
Nance noted that he will begin rehab once the swelling in his knee goes down, but there is no timetable for when that will happen. Nonetheless, Nance is right in that things could have been a lot worse, but the Lakers will still miss him while he is out.
His numbers don’t necessarily stand out (he averages 7.0 points and 5.5 rebounds), but Nance has been one of the most important and most versatile players on the roster. Nance is also arguably the Lakers’ best defender, adept at containing ball-handlers on the ball, but also consistently providing off-ball help, which remains one of the Lakers’ biggest issues.
The Lakers will certainly miss his energy and athleticism on both sides of the floor, but it will be up to the rest of the team to step up in his absence. Thomas Robinson has played well as of late, and Tarik Black has just returned from an ankle injury. Rookie Ivica Zubac could also see some spot minutes.