Nick Young returns to first practice since suffering injury

On first glance, Nick Young appeared his usual self shooting on the court. Except that was shooting and dribbling with his left hand as his right hand was in a sling.

It was Young’s first appearance since tearing the radial collateral ligament in his thumb guarding Kobe Bryant. He later joined the team for sprints at the end of practice as Byron Scott said it was encouraging to see him run despite the sling. Continue reading

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Byron Scott plans to ramp up workload when Nick Young returns

"Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014.  (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)"

“Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)”

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.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Byron Scott says Nick Young could return 4-6 weeks

Within a two-day span, Nick Young’s expected return time shortened by about two weeks.

After his agent anticipated Young missing the next six to eight weeks because of a torn ligament in his right thumb that will require surgery, Lakers coach Byron Scott said on Sunday that he has been told his absence would likely last anywhere between four to six weeks.

The Lakers will not know definitively until Young has surgery with Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday.

Young spent Sunday’s practice working on dribbling drills with his left hand and challenging forward Xavier Henry to a foul shooting contest. That entailed Young (left) and Henry (right) shooting with their non-shooting hand. Henry has also stayed sidelined for the past week because of back spasms while also rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee.

“Nothing full court and nothing with running,” Scott said about Henry’s work. “He’s still having a little bit of stiffness. We want to see if we can get that going in the next few days before we get him out there.”
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TWC SportsNet panel discusses Nick Young’s injury

The Lakers' Nick Young reacts after sinking a 3-point shot during their game against the Heat at the Staples Center December 25, 2013. The Heat beat the Lakers 101-95. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers’ Nick Young reacts after sinking a 3-point shot during their game against the Heat at the Staples Center December 25, 2013. The Heat beat the Lakers 101-95. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Well, that didn’t take long for the Lakers to experience a major injury.

A season after having playing miss a combined 319 games, the Lakers open the 2014-15 season likely to have their most prolific reserve miss a significant chunk of time. Lakers forward Nick Young had an MRI on Friday that revealed a torn ligament in his right thumb, an injury his agent Mark Bartelstein believes will sideline him between six to eight weeks. Presuming Bartelstein’s assessment proves correct once Young has surgery on Monday, such an absence would keep Young off the court for the entire preseason and between 10-17 regular season games.

This all became a topic of discussion Friday night on Time Warner Cable’s Access SportsNet where host Kelli Tennant, analyst Dave Miller and I talked about Young’s absence and the impact it will have on the Lakers.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Nick Young keeps Lakers’ Media Day entertaining

"Lakers Nick Young is all smiles as he does a interview as the LA Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014.  (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)"

“Lakers Nick Young is all smiles as he does a interview as the LA Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)”

His loud voice carried across the Lakers’ practice facility. His wide smile instantly created positive energy. His playfulness instantly created laughs among teammates, coaches and reporters alike.

The Lakers will begin training camp on Tuesday, hoping that a healthier Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, Byron’s coaching staff and renewed hunger will scrub away the stench from last season’s 27-55 record, the tram’s worst record in L.A. franchise history. But when it comes toward providing colorful quotes, Nick Young already appears in mid-season form.

After endlessly photobombing teammates’ interviews and playfully talking trash to them during the Lakers’ Media Day on Monday, Young opened up his interview with a heavy dose of bravado.

“I’m feeling great,” said Young, in high spirits two months after the Lakers signed him to a four-year, $24 million deal. “I’m a star. That’s about it.”
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Lakers depth chart breakdown: Nick Young

Lakers' #0 Nick Young shoots from the high post in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers’ #0 Nick Young shoots from the high post in the first half. The Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers in a regular season game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. April 1, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Below is the sixth in a series previewing the story lines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2014-15 season. This post focuses on Lakers forward Nick Young.

1. Will Nick Young start?
The tea leaves, as revealed recently by Lakers coach Byron Scott, suggested that Wesley Johnson has the edge at the starting small forward spot over Young. There are plenty of reasons. Johnson’s athleticism and defensive potential could complement an experienced albeit slow-trodden starting lineup. Young’s knack for scoring could spark energy off the bench. But it seems Scott has dangled out his thought process as a carrot to motivate his players and fuel a healthy competition during training camp and beyond.

Regardless of Young’s eventual spot on the Lakers’ depth chart, he should use training camp as an opportunity to prove he will build off of a promising season in which he averaging a team-leading 17.8 points, showed more hunger in developing and kept everyone usually in positive spirits.
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Nick Young plays pickup basketball in New York City

The step back jumper and Nick Young’s acrobatic celebration afterwards looked familiar. The setting and circumstances in which “Swaggy P” provided more entertainment did not.

After providing doses of feel-good moments in the Lakers’ otherwise disastrous season with prolific scoring and an infectious personality, Young carried those qualities over to New York City in a pick-up basketball game. As shown above on his Instagram account, Young still wore street clothes in what he said involved an impromptu appearance.

“Lol surprise some lil hoopers while driving thru these NY streets,” Young wrote. “Decided to stop and join they 3 on 3 … I had to swag on them tho.”


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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NBA free agency: Lakers reach out to Nick Young

Lakers' Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Lakers’ Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

The Lakers reiterated something to Nick Young’s representatives on Monday night that have been featured on countless billboards throughout Los Angeles.

The Lakers would like Young to stay. The Lakers were among “a lot of interested teams” to have contacted Young’s representatives, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

After averaging a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting, Young opted out of his $1.2 million player option in hopes of receiving a longer and more expensive contract with the Lakers. Young told this newspaper two weeks ago that he would like a multi-year deal, though he is willing to take a hometown discount if he has a similar role with the Lakers this season.

The Lakers like Young’s scoring and entertaining personality. But they are reluctant to offer multi-year deals to all role players so they can maximize purchasing power for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as well as future free agents in 2015 (Kevin Love) and 2016 (Kevin Durant).

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Nick Young gets beat one-on-one at his youth basketball camp

Once it comes time to negotiate when he becomes a free agent late Monday night, Nick Young better hope Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak doesn’t come across the video he just posted on his Instragram account.

What incentive does Kupchak have to give Young a multi-year deal when the Lakers forward cannot even defend a young player one-on-one at his basketball camp? Well perhaps by Young citing his team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting, becoming a locker room favorite and his willingness to take a hometown discount. Young could also include the video below, making up for his previous defensive lapse with a vicious block on another youngster.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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TWC SportsNet analyzes Nick Young’s future with the Lakers

 Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Rashard Lewis #9 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Rashard Lewis #9 of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on January 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nick Young became a Lakers’ fan favorite with his dazzling playmaking and entertaining on and off-court antics. One Lakers fan even launched a billboard campaign asking him to stay. Young would like to stay, too, after growing up here and bleeding purple and gold.

But with Young opting out of his $1.2 million player option in hopes of getting a longer and more lucrative deal with the Lakers, has this marked the end of the “Swaggy P” era in one season with the Lakers? Or is the beginning of a long-lasting partnership with his favorite team?

That became a topic that Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet host Chris McGee, analyst Dave Miller and I debated here on Wednesday night.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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