Wesley Johnson's recovery from a strained hip flexor went much quicker than expected, and the Los Angeles Lakers' starting small forward is expected to play against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, the team announced. Johnson suffered the injury against the Indiana Pacers and reports indicated he'd be out for "weeks."
Instead, the Lakers will have him back after missing just three games. This should help even out the Lakers' wing depth, particularly while Kobe Bryant's status has turned into a game-to-game situation. Johnson has enjoyed a career year with the Lakers, and is also the team's lone lengthy defender on the perimeter.
Ryan Kelly will likely return to a role off the bench after starting at small forward in two of the three games Johnson missed. Wayne Ellington also received a starting nod during the small time without Johnson. This should help get the Lakers' wing rotation back into order, which could help Nick Young get back into a shooting groove after going 13-53 over his last four games.