The news is in on Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., and it’s not great. Nance Jr. has opted for surgery on his fractured hand and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Nance Jr. suffered the injury during the Lakers’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday night. He had started in all eight games to start the season, but his run with the front five comes to an end as of Friday once the ball tips off against the Brooklyn Nets.
Head coach Luke Walton has yet to name who the starting power forward will be, but safe money is on Julius Randle being promoted. There’s a chance Kyle Kuzma gets the nod, especially when considering how well Randle has played off the bench and in the role as a small ball five, but that seems like a longer shot.
This could also mean minutes are back on the table for Luol Deng, who’s made one appearance for a total of 13 minutes thus far this season. His most impactful position at this point in his career is as a power forward. Andrew Bogut could also see his place in the rotation bumped up, though his own injury troubles may leave him limited.
It’s a tough break for the Lakers, who’ve been playing well even if the final score at the end of the buzzer isn’t reflecting it. They’ve started to look more like a cohesive unit over the past few outings, but losing their starting power forward and shaking up the rotation may set that process back.