Lakers Say Guard Unlikely to Return This Year From Injury

Getty Images Kendrick Nunn of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers had high hopes for Kendrick Nunn but the 26-year-old guard is unlikely to return from injury before the new year.

Nunn is dealing with a nagging bone bruise that hasn’t allowed him to get on the court for a regular-season game with the Lakers. Head coach Frank Vogel was asked about the prospect of seeing Nunn on the court for the Lakers before 2022 and he did not sound too optimistic.

“Probably not,” Vogel told reporters. “But there’s no firm timeline on that. We’ll see. I would say probably not.”

Lakers ESPN beat reporter Dave McMenamin reported last week that Nunn was “not close” to getting back on the court.

“That’s tough blow, you use your mid-level exception in the offseason to get him and you haven’t gotten one minute from him yet,” McMenamin said on the Lowe Post Podcast. “And there’s a feeling within the team that a combination of Monk, Talen Horton-Tucker and Nunn can give them this dynamic playmaker kind of second look that they didn’t have on either of last two season’s teams, but they haven’t been able to put that team into fruition yet.”

Nunn 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.

Lakers Veteran Trevor Ariza Inching Close to Return

While there was no good news on Nunn, it does appear that the Lakers could be getting Trevor Ariza back soon. He participated

“He participated in live-action for the first time, in scrimmage play,” Vogel said after practice. “He still looks like he has a ways to go to get his legs under him and all those types of things. It still feels a little bit weak for him. But not painful, if that makes sense. It’s going to take time for him to build strength in the ankle and, obviously, get his legs under him. But he participated in full scrimmage, yes.”

Ariza was anticipated to play a key part of the lineup as a rangy, perimeter defender. He played in 30 games last season with the Heat — 27 of those starts — averaging 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. It’s unknown if Ariza would have wrangled a starting role with the Lakers off the bat, but like many others on the team, the veteran is focused simply on winning.

“When you’re trying to win a championship, the only thing that matters is the success of the team,” Ariza told reporters after signing with LA. “The idea is for everybody to make each other better every day, and to cheer for your teammates’ success.”

Carmelo Anthony Added to Injury Report

The Lakers are just starting to get healthy but could be missing a key bench player as they return to play on Tuesday in Carmelo Anthony.

The 10-time All-Star is listed as questionable with flu-like symptoms. The team disclosed that the illness is non-COVID related, which is a nice piece of news following last week’s situation with LeBron James.

Outside of Ariza and Nunn, the only other players on the injury report are James (rectus abdominis strain) and Anthony Davis (thumb sprain).

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