Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young will play in Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets after missing the last six games due to a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise in his left knee, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Young initially suffered the injury on Feb. 5 after bumping knees with Cleveland Cavaliers forward C.J. Miles as he was attempting a lay-up on a fast break in the second quarter. He able to stay in for the remainder of the quarter, but pulled himself out of the game at halftime.
The 28-year-old’s excitement about his return was evident as he yelled “I’m back, baby!” as he left the court after Saturday’s practice.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this long, to tell you the truth,” Young said after his third practice since the All-Star break. “I’m just happy to be back. I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”
Young’s return will provide the Lakers with a boost offensively as he is the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.9 points per game and has scored in double figures in 41 out of the 48 games he has played, including a 19-game streak of double-digit outputs.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni is hoping that the six-year veteran can get back to helping the team on both sides of the court.
“He had a little bit of a dip after an unbelievable start, and now, hopefully, with this little break he had he’ll come back and have the same energy defensively that he had,” D’Antoni said. “Nick can be really good and really help us a lot.”
It will be interesting to see how the return of Young affects the play of his teammates, most notably newly acquired players in Kent Bazemore, who had a career-high 15 points in Friday’s 101-92 win over the Boston Celtics, and MarShon Brooks, who scored a season-high 14 points in Lakers debut.
Nevertheless, the addition of Young will not only provide much-needed help offensively, but a morale boost in what has been a difficult season for the Lakers.
Young’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, also spoke on Saturday as he shed some light on his client’s plans to remain a Laker after this season.
“Nick loves it in L.A.,” Bartelstein said. “He grew up as a huge Lakers fan. His dream has always been to play for the Lakers, and he takes pride in being able to put on the Laker uniform. It really means something to him.”
Young is making $1.2 million this season with a player option for next year, so the news that he desires to stay with team past this season may be a bit premature but all in all is encouraging to hear for Lakers fans.
As for other Lakers injury news, Xavier Henry participated on-court drills on Saturday and is about a week away from his return to a game according to D’Antoni.
Henry has been sidelined a bone bruise in his right knee that he suffered the first quarter of the Lakers’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 29.
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