A cast stayed wrapped around Nick Young’s right hand as he sat at the scorer’s table. He watched the Lakers practice on Wednesday at the team’s facility in El Segundo, knowing he’d stay sidelined for the next two months. Yet, Scott still stayed positive, his vibrant smile still there as he conversed with teammates afterwards.
Perhaps the only thing unusual entailed Young respectfully declined to talk to reporters, saying “I’m on medication.” But everything else? Young still showed an even-keel demeanor that defines the “Swaggy P” persona. Could anything damper his happy mood?
“I’ll have to shoot him,” Lakers coach Byron Scott joked. “That might not even work. I think that’s permanent.”
Perhaps. But maybe Young’s behavior will change once he returns to practice on Friday. Scott tried forcing Young to participate on Wednesday in defensive and running drills, just as he did for two days after tearing a ligament in his right thumb last Thursday. But Young informed Scott that Lakers trainer Gary Vitti has advised he sit out for now.
“I think he’s pretty happy about it,” Scott said. “But in the long ruin, I’m going to get the last laugh. So it’s going to be happy days for me.”
So will Scott double his workload once Young returns to practice on Friday?
“We have to get him back in shape,” Scott said with a smile. “He’s missed a few days. I told him we can’t let him go backwards. We can’t let that stamina lose. We have to get it back.”
After having surgery on Monday, Young is expected to miss the Lakers’ remaining seven exhibition games and first 14 regular-season contests. According to the Lakers’ initial timetable, Young could return as early as Nov. 26 when the Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.
The Lakers are already thin at the small forward spot with injuries to Wesley Johnson (left knee), Ryan Kelly (strained left hamstring) and Xavier Henry (back spasms). Johnson participated in all of Wednesday’s practice and is expected to start when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors on Thursday at Staples Center. Kelly will likely practice beginning Thursday, while Henry has stayed confined to shooting drills.