The injury bug has not been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and it appears to have no intention of letting up. Reserve power forward Larry Nance Jr. is the latest victim, as Laker Reporter Mike Trudell announced via Twitter that he will not play in Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies due to a knee contusion.:
Larry Nance, Jr. is out tonight with the knee contusion he suffered late in last night’s game at Toronto. Possible he could play next game.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 3, 2016
This is a tough blow for the Lakers, who are already trying to get by without their starting backcourt of Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell. The fact that the injury occurred at the very end of a blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors also doesn’t help matters.
Nance is a key piece to Los Angeles’ bench, which has been the best in the league this season. Alongside Tarik Black, Nance’s ability to switch while defending pick and rolls has been a big part of the defensive success the bench has seen, while his energy and mid-range jump shot have proven to be invaluable on the offensive end.
Moreover, Nance’s versatility provides coach Luke Walton with the option of going small with Julius Randle at center, which can give the Lakers more of an offensive punch. He will be sorely missed against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are struggling with injuries of their own to Mike Conley. Memphis will likely be one of the teams the Lakers will need to sneak past in the Western Conference standings in order to make the playoffs this year, making the game a particularly crucial one.
While the injury is just a contusion, knee injuries are never something to take lightly, particularly for a player like Nance who has had a history of issues. Despite his struggles to stay healthy, Nance is a high-fly act, and he remains interested in participating in the slam dunk contest. His father, Larry Nance Sr., won the inaugural NBA dunk contest back in 1984.