Lakers’ Nick Young stays positive and in conditioning drills despite injured thumb

first_imgThe smile still stayed wide and the laugh still remained loud despite Lakers forward Nick Young learning he could be sidelined six to eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his right thumb.Young called the bandage that supports his right thumb his “bowling glove.” Young chuckled at Jeremy Lin recently dismissing why the general public calls him “Swaggy P,” countering he calls him “Swaggy Lin” and plans to make a sequel to the movie, “Rush Hour.”Two days before he will have surgery to treat his thumb, Young also discovered at Saturday’s practice that something else had not changed.Lakers coach Byron Scott still demanded that Young participate in competing and defensive drills. “When you hurt your hand, your feet are still OK and your legs are OK,” Scott said. “He can still do all the stuff we can do conditioning-wise.”Young sure could use some more defensive lessons. Young reported his injury stemmed from reaching for the ball against Kobe Bryant, resulting in Young ramming his thumb into Bryant’s elbow.“He was telling me slide my feet,” Young recalled Scott telling him. “Don’t reach in. That’s what happens when you reach in.”Bryant’s theory for the injury? “My body is made of steel,” Young recalled Bryant saying. Bryant also supported Scott’s stern approach.“It says Byron don’t play that,” Bryant said. “You are able to run and do defensive slides and things that you can do from a conditioning level, so you don’t lose that.” New roleThe players who could help fill Young’s absence include Bryant, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Clarkson and Wayne Ellington. Scott had already penciled Johnson to start at small forward.“I expect a lot from Wesley Johnson. He’s been looking great in training camp, running up and down the floor, defending,” Scott said. “He can become one of the best in the league.”Johnson averaged 9.1 points last season, but struggled with his consistency. “I don’t think I got a fair shot,” said Johnson, who often defended bulky power forwards. “You were playing everywhere.”Bryant believes Johnson “will flourish,” arguing Scott puts heavier emphasis on defense than former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni.“The biggest thing with him is to make sure he feels comfortable,” Scott said. “He’s a hell of a talent. He just has to continue to go out there with that type of confidence.”Injury updateScott held out hope Lakers forward Ryan Kelly could begin practice Thursday after sitting out the past week because of a strained left hamstring. Scott said he is more uncertain about Xavier Henry’s return after he reamined sidelined because of back spasms.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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