Lakers Guard Suffers Significant Setback in Return From Injury

Getty Images Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn.

Kendrick Nunn will not be making his Los Angeles Lakers debut any time soon after suffering a setback in his return from a knee injury.

Nunn signed with the Lakers this offseason but has yet to play a game with the team. He averaged 15.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 67 starts with the Heat during his rookie season, landing on the All-Rookie team and finishing runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Last season he averaged 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

“Kendrick actually suffered a setback,” Vogel said, before catching himself and rephrasing. “Well, not necessarily a setback, but the ramped-up activity, his knee didn’t respond well to it.”

Vogel said the team is waiting until the injury “calms down” before giving Nunn more work.

“Bone bruises are tricky and his timeline is delayed,” Vogel said. “He’s pulled back from his workload until it calms down.”

There is no timeline for Nunn’s return to action.

Lakers Were Going to Run Nunn Hard in Return

The Lakers were optimistic that Nunn would be returning soon and the team was planning to run him hard once he joined the lineup in an attempt to see how he meshed with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and — if he’s healthy — Anthony Davis.

“I have an idea, but it still really is all to still be played out,” Vogel said earlier this month. “Kendrick is going to get a ton of minutes when he gets back healthy. It’s going to be at the expense of somebody else, at least for the time being, to see how he fits in our system alongside our stars, and all that stuff will play out. So I have a general idea, but all of that is still to be determined.”

While the Nunn signing obviously hasn’t played out as planned, the Lakers have been getting better production than expected out of Malik Monk. The former first-round pick is averaging 12.1 points and shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range. James has gushed over Monk and revealed that he’s had his eye on him for quite some time.

“Me and [former Lakers assistant Jason Kidd] were talking all the time — ‘is there a way we can snatch this guy from their roster?’ Through patience and through timing, we were able to get him this summer. Which is still doesn’t make sense to me.”

Lakers Bring Back Stanley Johnson

The Lakers officially announced the move to bring back forward Stanley Johnson on Monday, signing him to a third 10-day contract. Johnson has received some significant playing time since landing with the Lakers, starting five of the nine games he’s played in. Johnson has averaged 5.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.3 minutes.

“He’s picked up our system really fast, and part of it is because he was with South Bay, and that gave him a cheatsheet, which we needed,” James said of Johnson. “And he brought in some toughness at the wing position and also some defensive toughness as well.”

The Lakers still could make some big roster moves and are expected to be an active player at the trade deadline. That could play into the future of Johnson, Nunn and others as the team looks to improve after a dismal 21-22 start.

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