The idolatry Nick Young has for Kobe Bryant apparently goes beyond wanting to duplicate high-volume shooting, wearing a Lakers uniform or soaking in the Hollywood spotlight.
Young also seems determined to play through pain. He returned in only two weeks after nursing both a bone bruise and nondisplaced fracture in the patella of his left knee, and Young admitted that quick recovery time didn’t consist of taking an MRI.
“I’d rather not know it,” Young said. “I told the Doc I was ready.”
Young sure didn’t look like it, posting a modest 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting in 19 minutes in the Lakers’ 108-102 loss Sunday to the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center. Yet, Young dismissively said he won’t need to have any offseason treatment on his knee and that he’s not jeopardizing his body by returning so soon.
“I don’t believe there’s nothing broken or anything like that,” Young said. “It was swelling here or there.”
Such issues seemed to affect Young’s conditioning. He also appeared out of sorts in both creating his own shot and showing dependable accuracy at the free throw line (3 of 5). Young also joked he would’ve thrown down a few dunks instead of converting on layups had he felt fully healthy.
Nonetheless, there’s a simple explanation for Young wanting to return to a team that has virtually no shot to make the playoffs and ranks last in the Western Conference.
Young has a $1.2 million player option this offseason and wants to maximize his worth to the Lakers. His agent Mark Bartelstein recently told this newspaper Young “wants to be a Laker” in response to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak predicting Young will opt out. Young also admitted seeing the Lakers’ recent acquisitions in Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks as potential threats toward his place in the rotation.
“You see players out there, you don’t want to be lost in the shuffle,” Young said. “I wanted to get back.”
But he hardly looked like the Swaggy P that provided acrobatic shots and highlight reels. Nonetheless, Young vowed some rest should prove enough in building himself back into what made him into a fan favorite.
“I want to play. I don’t have too many games left,” Young said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen after the season. So I just want to keep having that Lakers uniform on.”
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