Injury problems pile up for the Los Angeles Lakers before the regular season. You lost Trevor Ariza to an ankle injury for two months. Now it seems they will be missing another important player for some time.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, guardian Talen Horton-Tucker will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.
Horton-Tucker did not play in the preseason game on Sunday against the Phoenix Suns due to a so-called sprain of the right thumb. It is now evident that the injury was far worse than a simple sprain. Horton-Tucker received a three-year contract extension with the Lakers in the offseason. He was expected to play a major role on this team as one of the few young players among a sea of veterans. This is a disappointing development for the up-and-coming Guard and also a disappointment for the Lakers who have come to expect great things from him.
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A torn ligament is a brutal injury no matter where it happens on the body. Unfortunately for Horton-Tucker, the torn ligament was on his right thumb. He shoots with his right hand so it wouldn’t have been an easy injury to play through. No specific schedule has been published as to when he can return.
It has been speculated that, according to Dr. Rajpal Brar could be six to eight weeks before he returns.
If this timeline is correct, Horton-Tucker will fail around the same time as Ariza. This injury shouldn’t have been keeping the guard all season, but it will certainly slow his development.
This injury is a major setback for the promising young guard, but the Lakers remain very high on him. General Manager Rob Pelinka recently revealed how good he thinks Horton-Tucker can be.
“There’s nothing that doesn’t have to stop Talen from being an elite player,” Pelinka said of Sports Illustrated.
Although he was a second round draft pick in 2019, the Lakers have known for some time that they found a bargain in him. Horton-Tucker is far from being a finished product. Head coach Frank Vogel wants more from him in defense.
“Let’s talk about THT,” Vogel said on Spectrum SportsNet’s Sea show Podcast: “You’re talking about the defensive end, and who’s going to be that guy, he’s been challenged. … Yes, we have invested (in him). For good reason. He has the ability, he’s gotten a bit better over the last few years as a young player, but he’s one of those guys who, when you look at KCP and Alex aren’t here, can you step up and fill that out? Role guarding some of the other best players. “
The key to Horton-Tucker becoming a consistent player with the Lakers is strong defense. The team has a lot of scoring opportunities but has lost a lot of defense this off-season. If he comes back there is hope that he will finally see some defensive improvements.
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