The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020-21 season was ruined by injuries and although the 2021-22 season has not even started yet, it’s looking like that could again be the case this year.
The Lakers have already lost Trevor Ariza for at least eight weeks after he was forced to undergo surgery to repair his injured ankle.
It was then announced before Sunday night’s preseason game against the Phoenix Suns that both Talen Horton-Tucker and Malik Monk would be sitting out with injuries as well.
Frank Vogel was not yet aware of how severe Horton-Tuckers thumb injury was when he spoke to the media on Sunday, with the reason for that being he still had to undergo more tests. Well, it appears the tests results weren’t great as Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Horton-Tucker will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in the thumb:
Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker has a torn ligament in his right thumb and will undergo surgery, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 11, 2021
While no timetable for Horton-Tucker’s return was revealed, it’s fair to assume he will miss at least the next few weeks after going under the knife.
This timing obviously isn’t great for the Lakers, who open up the regular season next Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers re-signed Horton-Tucker to a lucrative three-year contract this summer and he was expected to step up and become a legit rotation player, perhaps even starter, this season. While the thumb injury likely isn’t season-ending, Horton-Tucker will now have to find a way to get into a rhythm in the middle of the season after missing a significant portion of time.
In Horton-Tucker’s absence, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Kendrick Nunn, Monk, Rajon Rondo and Austin Reaves could all see more action in the guard rotation.
The Lakers currently have 14 guaranteed players on the roster and the expectation was they would go into the season with an open spot to maintain flexibility. With two players now missing time and the possibility for more injuries in the future, it will be interesting to see if they change course and bring in a 15th player.
Monk to miss at least a week
Monk, who is dealing with a groin strain, will also miss some time as Vogel revealed that he will be re-evaluated in a week, which is just before Opening Night.
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