The Lakers are thinking about having Larry Nance Jr. miss the rest of the season to allow soreness in his surgically repaired right knee to heal, coach Byron Scott said, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com. The plan for now is to evaluate the knee and see whether he can play in the team’s next game Wednesday, Holmes writes, noting that the Lakers took him out of Monday’s game for what Nance described as precautionary reasons. He’s missed nine of the last 12 games because of the knee.
It’s too late in the season for the Lakers to apply for a disabled player exception, which the team could otherwise receive if Nance had a season-ending injury. The 23-year-old is the only Laker dealing with a serious ailment for now, so a hardship exception for a 16th roster spot, a provision the NBA granted an injury-racked Lakers team late last season, isn’t in play.
The Lakers are in position to worry far more about lottery position and retaining their top-three protected first-round pick than the playoffs, so the greater concern would appear to center on Nance’s long-term health. He tore the ACL in his right knee during the 2013/14 season when he was a junior at the University of Wyoming but recovered well enough to play 31 games as a senior and become the 27th overall pick this past June. The power forward plays a highly athletic style, so any serious knee issue is liable to compromise that. He started 22 games this season before knee trouble flared up last month.