The Los Angeles Lakers have hit their first major injury bump of the season. Larry Nance Jr. suffered a fracture of the second metacarpal on his left hand, the Lakers confirmed during their game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It’s unclear how long Nance Jr. will have to be sidelined with the injury, but his presence will be missed no matter how long. He’s started each of the Lakers’ eight games, but that will come to an end on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.
This leaves head coach Luke Walton with the choice of either giving Julius Randle the starting nod again, which seems to be the likeliest outcome, or throw Kyle Kuzma completely into the fire. The Lakers are lucky to have solid depth at the four, but this will still have a trickling effect.
Randle, who’s spent a chunk of his playing time as a small-ball five in certain rotations, will have his minutes allocated more at the four now. That could mean Andrew Bogut finds his way back on the floor for a larger role, though he was ruled out of Friday’s game with back tightness.
Nance Jr. was averaging 11 points, a team-high 7.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game heading into the Trail Blazers game. His all-round production, defense and hustle will be missed while he’s out.
Hopefully it isn’t too long, though, and the esteemed Dr. Rober Klapper had an optimistic outlook about the healing time of a hand fracture:
#LAKERS.1stMetacarpal is Key Bone for Grasping/Shooting/Dribbling the Ball.Hand Fractures heal FASTER than other Bones!Blood SupplyExcellent— Dr. Robert Klapper (@DrRobertKlapper) November 3, 2017
We should have something closer to an actual timetable on when Leaping Larry can return within the next day or so.