Larry Nance, Jr. originally hurt himself roughly four weeks ago. At the time of his injury, he took the stated four-week timeline as something of a challenge. Now, with that timeline waning, it seems the Los Angeles Lakers are (smartly) managing expectations.
Here’s what Luke Walton had to say about Nance’s return, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Times.
It doesn’t look like he’s going to be back at least this week. But I guess we’ll know a lot more in practice. It’s enough to get him on the court as long it doesn’t hurt. If he can do two straight practices without pain, he’ll be good to play.
As much as the team needs him back (and boy do they), his long-term health is vastly more important than rushing him back for a couple extra wins in another lottery-bound season. And as little as everyone wants to think of Nance as potentially injury-prone, there’s no ignoring the growing list of bumps, bruises and tears that have held him out over the last few years.
It goes without saying, but messing with a non-contact injury as Nance suffered and putting him back into the game before he’s absolutely ready is a great way to ensure more potential injury time down the road.
This isn’t to say progress hasn’t been made, by the way. The fact they’re talking about a return within a week or so is noteworthy in and of itself. Everyone involved is handling this the right way.