It has been just over two weeks since Larry Nance, Jr. fractured his hand in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. On Friday, the Lakers announced that the power forward had been cleared to return to practice.
Nance started the first eight games of the season, averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and steals per game. The forward’s injury paved the way for rookie Kyle Kuzma to be inserted into the starting lineup where he has mostly excelled next to Brook Lopez.
It is still unclear when Nance can return to the court to play in a game. Once he is ready, the Lakers will have a bit of a dilemma on their hands. With three starting-level power forwards on the roster, Luke Walton will once again have to choose who to start. The option will likely come down to Nance or Kuzma as Walton seems intent on keeping Julius Randle with the bench unit.
Nance’s return will also likely signal the end of Andrew Bogut’s run in the rotation as Randle can return to his role of assuming backup center duties.
For now, Nance will have to work his way back into playing form in practice but it’s a great sign that the big man is already back on the court.