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Talen Horton-Tucker has been cleared for practice. What steps are left before he’s back on the court?

THT has been out for nearly a month following surgery on a thumb tendon. How much longer until he sees game action?

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images

Lakers promising young wing Talen Horton-Tucker has been sidelined for the Lakers’ tumultuous start to the season following preseason surgery to repair a tendon in his thumb. It was a real blow to the team, and one could make the argument that Horton-Tucker’s absence is one of the key reasons for the rocky beginning, especially when stacked on top of other injuries to Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza along with anticipated growing pains.

But Horton-Tucker had the surgery approximately 30 days ago, and following a medical re-evaluation two days ago (four weeks post surgery), he got the all clear for contact and to return to practice. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll be fast tracked for a return to games. The Lakers are yet to give a definite timeline on his return, and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was coy about when we can expect to see him on the floor.

“We’ll see. We’re going to have a period where we have to work him back in. That’s always an adjustment period when a guy has been out for a period of time. But he’s definitely one of our rotation players,” Vogel said earlier this week. “We’ll see how that goes when we bring him back.”

That naturally brings us to a question: What steps and progressions are left for Horton-Tucker to clear on his return to play process, what do those look like, and even though the Lakers haven’t given a timeline, is there any inkling of when he could return based on the physio and training staff’s normal practices?

I explained that and more in the following video:

I’d be surprised if the Lakers give a timeline at any point. It’s more likely they’ll simply continue to list Horton-Tucker as “out” and then upgrade his status to “questionable” or “probable” once he’s cleared for game action. In the mean time, you can follow along with his progress by cross-referencing the latest practice updates and clips on him with the continuum outlined in the video.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 4 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.

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