MEMPHIS — The two men that will determine Larry Nance Jr.’s workload watched attentively from the sideline as the Lakers’ rookie forward hoisted jumpers. Lakers coach Byron Scott and trainer Gary Vitti then consulted with Nance about his sore right knee and determined he will be available to play tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.
But Nance will play only limited minutes and his workload could quickly change depending on what happens with an injury that kept him out of 10 games in the past month.
“Nobody in this league feels 100 percent,” Scott said before his official diagnosis. “Everybody has some bumps and bruises. He’s no different But with his age and the career we have ahead of him, we’re going to be cautious.”
The Lakers had considered shutting Nance for the rest of the season considering the severity of his injury. But he received enough treatment on Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in shootaround and move around with no reported discomfort. Nance’s return also relates to his recovery since he hopes to strengthen the knee.
Despite playing in only nine minutes, 34 seconds in Monday’s loss in Milwaukee, Nance said he “absolutely” believes he could play.
“That’s my call first of all as far as if he’s going to play or not,” Scott said, laughing. “Obviously the first person I’ll talk to is Gary to make sure he’s physically fit and he’s okay to play. After that, it’s my call if he plays. But I love his attitude. That’s Larry. He wants to play and get out there with his teammates.”
Nance has averaged 5.7 points on 54.2 percent shooting and 4.9 rebounds per game, and has shown both energy and a consistent jump shot.