The Lakers are trending in a positive direction on the court, and the injury news off of it is following suit. Trevor Ariza’s progress in his return from ankle surgery has been more documented than teammate Kendrick Nunn, who has spent nearly as many days on the injury report, but as of Monday, we have firmer timelines for both.
Ariza has returned to the court and his debut looks more imminent, while Nunn’s is more long-term. Neither has exact timelines for their insertion back into the lineup, but Shams Charania of The Athletic offered the first looks at potential return dates for both in his latest column:
The Lakers are hopeful forward Trevor Ariza (ankle surgery) will return within the next one-to-two weeks and are hopeful guard Kendrick Nunn (bone bruise, knee) will return in January, sources said. Both players were expected to have important, potential starting roles for the Lakers this season, but have yet to play as they rehab toward full recovery.
After taking part in a live scrimmage in practice last week, Ariza is set to practice with the South Bay Lakers in the G League on Monday, another positive step toward him joining the Lakers over the weeks to come.
For Nunn, this is the first look at any type of return date. The most the Lakers have divulged on his injury status is that he would not be returning until 2022, which goes in line with Charania’s reporting. Nunn was initially ruled out with a bone bruise during training camp with an original timeline of being reevaluated in 2-3 weeks.
Bone bruises can be a tricky injury that have varying timelines to return, which seems to be the case for the Lakers and Nunn. As evidenced by his contract, the team had high expectations for Nunn this season, and his loss has been felt.
While Ariza has been the one who has received most of the focus for his potential impact on the team, Nunn will be vitally important to the Lakers realizing their maximum potential by season’s end as a combo guard capable of filling multiple roles in Lakers lineups, if and when he does return to the lineup. There is also the reality that Nunn is one of the few trade chips the Lakers have, so him getting back on the floor with a month before the Feb. 10 trade deadline could help with their pursuit of upgrades like Jerami Grant.
So on both fronts, this is tentatively good news, and hopefully it’s an accurate estimate of when we can expect to see both players.