The preseason hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for the Lakers, as they’ve yet to win an exhibition game and have looked the part of a team still trying to learn each other after an offseason that saw them almost completely remake the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Preseason results, of course, don’t mean anything for a veteran team with title aspirations that hasn’t put all three of its top players on the floor together yet, but more concerning are the knocks that have been picked up by some hopeful key contributors — and oddly enough, two of their youngest players.
Malik Monk is currently sidelined with a groin strain that the Lakers hope won’t force him to miss any actual time in the regular season, but is the type of injury that warrants plenty of caution as it’s the type of thing that can linger. Trevor Ariza is out for at least two months after ankle surgery, and now joining Monk and Ariza on the sidelines is Talen Horton-Tucker, who has a thumb injury that, per Shams Charania and Dave McMenamin, will require surgery to repair a torn ligament.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 11, 2021
Talen Horton-Tucker is going to undergo surgery to repair the ligament in his right thumb, sources told ESPN.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 11, 2021
There’s no word on a timetable for THT’s return, but he is one of their better and more versatile defenders on the wing and any absence from him limits what the Lakers can do lineup-wise. His ability to play and defend multiple positions gives Frank Vogel a lot of options as to lineups he can fit into, and without that type of player at his disposal, the Lakers’ versatility takes a significant hit. Hopefully, Horton-Tucker will make a quick and full recovery, and the Lakers will know to play the long game with his return and try to ensure he doesn’t suffer any setbacks that could impact them come playoff time. In the meantime, L.A. will have even more tinkering to do with lineups and rotations.