The Los Angeles Lakers will be without the services of third-year forward Larry Nance Jr. for the next four to six weeks after undergoing surgery on Friday to repair a fractured left hand, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Sources: Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. undergoing surgery on fractured left hand today, with early expectation he'll miss 4-to-6 weeks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 3, 2017
Nance Jr. had suffered the injury in the third quarter of Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers after attempting to block Trail Blazers rookie big man Caleb Swanigan‘s shot at the rim. He was then immediately taken out of the game and underwent x-rays in the locker room that came back positive and revealed a fracture in his left hand.
The 24-year-old had grasped onto the starting power forward role with Los Angeles to begin the 2017-18 season over Julius Randle where he averaged a career-high 10.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in the first eight games. This also includes notching three double-doubles and registering double-figure rebounds on four occasions.
His absence now quickly shifts things for the Lakers with a looming decision for head coach Luke Walton prior to Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets in determining who will get the start in Nance Jr.’s place. This will likely come down to a choice between Randle and rookie Kyle Kuzma, who is coming off a career-high 22 points in Thursday’s loss to the Trail Blazers.
Kuzma is averaging 15.0 points on 54.3 percent shooting from the field with 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 26.8 minutes per contest the first eight games played. This includes scoring in double figures six times with two 20-point outings and his first career double-double.
Meanwhile, Randle has begun to show signs of comfort coming off the bench averaging 11.0 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the field with 5.4 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 19.1 minutes per game. He has scored 10 or more points on four occasions while registering at least a block five times.