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Talen Horton-Tucker to be cleared for contact on Tuesday, timetable for return still unknown

The Lakers got some more good injury news on Monday as Talen Horton-Tucker took a big step toward returning to the court from his thumb injury.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Talen Horton-Tucker will take another big step towards his return to the court on Tuesday, when the third-year guard will be cleared for contact, according to head coach Frank Vogel. The move will allow Horton-Tucker to begin practicing with the team as he inches closer to his regular season debut.

“So Talen is going to be cleared for contact tomorrow, which is exciting,” Vogel said at the team’s Monday shootaround. “We don’t really have any timetable on when he’ll return to game action. That will take some time, but he will be cleared to practice tomorrow.”

Horton-Tucker underwent surgery on a broken thumb late in the preseason on Oct. 13, a move that would lead to him being re-evaluated in four weeks. A faster recovery than expected appears to have moved that timeline up, as he had his cast removed a week ago and has been spotted multiple times working out individually, including on Monday.

When he does return, Horton-Tucker will provide the Lakers with a sorely needed skillset at a few nearly depleted positions. His mixture of size on the wing, ballhandling and defense all fit needs the Lakers need early this season, and for a team already thin on the wing, Horton-Tucker was expected to see minutes at the small forward spot, which made his injury particularly impactful on the Lakers.

As a result, it’s unsurprising that Vogel anticipates Horton-Tucker will be in the rotation once he makes his regular season debut, though his exact role will be determined after he gets integrated.

“We’ll see. We’re going to have a period where we have to work him back in,” Vogel said. “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, and we’ll see how that goes when we bring him back.”

Injury notes

“He’ll be listed as probable,” Vogel said. “Feeling better from his stomach bug, still is dealing with the common cold I guess, with sinus congestion in his head... The thumb is still sore but he’s going to play with it, so that won’t keep him out. So he’s listed as probable.”

Before anyone panics, Davis tested negative for COVID-19, per Vogel. He does just have a normal cold.

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