UPDATE: The team made a release prior to their preseason game tonight against the Warriors, stating that Talen Horton-Tucker will be re-evaluated in four weeks. He is expected to make a full and complete recovery from the torn UCL surgery on his thumb.
Lakers release on THT: "Talen Horton-Tucker had successful surgery today to repair the ulnar collateral ligament on his right thumb. He is expected to make a full and complete recovery. Horton-Tucker will be reevaluated by team doctors in approximately four weeks."
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 12, 2021
The Los Angeles Lakers season is starting on a sour note. Talen Horton-Tucker has joined Trevor Ariza as the second player out with a long-term injury that will see them miss the beginning of the new season. Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported the news of THT’s torn ligament in his right thumb. He underwent surgery today.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 11, 2021
According to reports from ESPN, Horton-Tucker will receive surgery on a torn ligament in his right thumb. No timetable has been announced yet but it could be a significant loss for the team.
If it's most common thumb ligament injury (ulnar collateral) then he'll likely have surgery w/ internal brace (developed by Dr. Steven Shin in LA) added. Typical return timeline would be 6-8 weeks (for reference, Drew Brees was back in 6 with this procedure). Awaiting more detail https://t.co/nutmC3aaio
— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) October 11, 2021
Horton-Tucker was expected to play a major role after receiving a new contract from the Lakers this summer. The 20-year-old could be an option this season across three positions as the Lakers evaluate their options with both bigger and smaller lineups. THT has already shown what he can provide to the Lakers on offense, but Frank Vogel was expecting even more from the youngest player on the team for this season, saying THT had been “challenged” by Vogel on the team to sometimes guard the opponent’s best player.
Horton-Tucker’s absence means that the Lakers will begin the regular season with only two players – LeBron James and Anthony Davis – from last year. As Dr. Rajpal Brar notes above, it could be a six-to-eight week absence for him. However, he did later note that Chris Paul only missed 39 days with a similar injury (if it is indeed the UCL ligament that was torn). That would be the most optimistic timetable, coming in right under the six-week mark.
No matter what this means for the team as a whole, it’s definitely sad to see THT suffer the first major injury of his career. Hopefully he can come out of the gates in a big way once he return to the court.