The injury bug has not been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers so far in the 2016-2017 NBA season, with several key players missing multiple games. Unfortunately, those injury woes continue as Larry Nance Jr. recently suffered a bone bruise in a game against the Charlotte Hornets.
The injury is not as bad as it was initially feared, and the high-flying Nance is expected to miss about four weeks in order to heal. However, Nance spoke prior to Tuesday night’s home game against the Utah Jazz, and sounded optimistic about returning before the four-week projection (via Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters):
“Some people have had it and gotten back in two days, like I had a bone bruise in my knee earlier this season and I missed one game maybe, or two. Like they said, this one could potentially be four weeks but we’re hoping for earlier than that.”
The Lakers will certainly be thrilled if Nance is able to return sooner rather than later. While Thomas Robinson has done a solid job filling in for both him and the also-injured Tarik Black, and Luol Deng has taken on a larger burden by sliding down to power forward for longer stretches, there is still no doubt that the Lakers miss Nance’s athleticism on the floor.
His highlight-reel dunks are always a crowd pleaser, and his agility on the defensive end allows him to rotate out onto perimeter players in pick-and-roll situations, which are the bread and butter for most modern NBA offenses. Additionally, Nance is an underrated passer, and his rim protection from the weak side has improved recently.
The Lakers sorely need all of these things on the floor to help keep their bench, which is the highest scoring in the NBA, thriving. Hopefully Nance will heal quickly, and then the injury bug can give the Lakers a break for the rest of the season.