The Lakers were hit with their first major injury of the season on Thursday, as starting power forward Larry Nance Jr. was diagnosed with a fracture of the second metacarpal on his left hand.
Nance’s injury occurred while attempting a block late in the third quarter. He immediately went to the locker room, and X-rays revealed the breakage in his pointer finger.
The injury puts a temporary halt on a successful start to the 24-year-old’s season. Through seven games, he ranked seventh in the NBA in field goal percentage (60.4) with four double-doubles along the way.
He had been averaging 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds, while serving as one of the team’s best defenders.
Head coach Luke Walton did not say who will start in Nance’s place, though Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma are the likely candidates.
Walton did maintain that he expects a group effort will be needed to substitute Nance’s production.
“I obviously feel so terrible for him,” Walton said. “He’s been playing so solid for us. It’s unfortunate it’s going to hurt the team. He’s been working so hard.”