Injured Lakers Guard Talen Horton-Tucker Nearing Return

Getty Lakers guard Talen-Horton Tucker.

Talen Horton-Tucker has missed the start of the Los Angeles Lakers season but could be back on the court soon.

Horton-Tucker had surgery on his thumb on Oct. 13 but recently got his stitches out and is cleared to start shooting. His original timeline for a re-evaluation was four weeks.

“Yeah he got his stitches out,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday. “(We) hope to have him start doing shooting tomorrow, but he’s still on track with the timetable.”

Horton-Tucker is fresh off signing a three-year, $32 million deal to return to the Lakers — not bad for the former second-round pick, who drew some interest from other teams. In 65 games last season, Horton-Tucker averaged 9.0 points (45.8 FG%), 2.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 steal in 20.1 minutes per game. Horton-Tucker scored in double figures 27 times last season and tallied four double-doubles.

“I feel like it was a no-brainer just to come back where I started and just kind of run it back,” Horton-Tucker told reporters earlier this month. “I want to win a championship… so being around this group of guys that we have is going to be a plus for me.”

The Lakers are depending on Horton-Tucker to take on a larger role this season, especially on the defensive end.

“You talk about the defensive end, and who’s going to be that guy, he’s been challenged… Yes, we did (invest in him). For good reason. He has the ability, the last few years as a young player he’s gotten a little bit better as we’ve gone, but he’s one of those guys, that looking at KCP and Alex not being here, can you step up and fill into that role of guarding some of the other best players.”

Wayne Ellington Inching Closer to Return

Frank Vogel gives updates on THT and Wayne Ellington and talks team chemistry | Lakers PracticeSubscribe for the latest Lakers' content: Follow us on Facebook: Follow us on Instagram: Follow us on Twitter: Get the Lakers app:…2021-11-01T22:34:35Z

More reinforcements could be coming along with Horton-Tucker, with veteran Wayne Ellington also nearing a return. Ellington has been recovering from a hamstring injury and got in some work with the Lakers’ G-League team. Vogel explained why the 33-year-old was with South Bay.

“Wayne is going to practice with the G League today,” Vogel said. “We have to assign him by the rules or whatever, but it’s just to go down to practice here, just to get some live work. Our practice was just light script and film. So for him to get some live work, he’s going to work with the G League today.”

New-Look Lakers Starting to Mesh

The Lakers are coming off what might have been their most impressive performance of the season against the Rockets, downing Houston 95-85 behind a stellar defensive effort. The game also featured a tweak to the starting lineup, with Anthony Davis starting at center and Avery Bradley also being inserted.

“Huge growth on the defensive side of the ball, not because of the lineup but because of our work,” Vogel said. “We’ve been really hammering the details with these guys on the areas that we’ve been failing. We’ve had very productive film sessions and they’ve been challenged with things like containment and low man and executing our coverages the right way and finishing possessions, which we did a much better job getting into people. (We were) very relaxed with our boxouts the last few games but all those areas were improved tonight.”

The Lakers will try to move to 5-3 as they host the Rockets on Tuesday.

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