Lakers 'romantic' Nick Young to put heart and soul into a new month

Nick Young is glad to see calendar flip to February after a dismal January in which he shot 32% and was injure

Rarely has a Lakers player been so happy to see one winter month melt into another.

Nick Young hated January, the reasons more than easy to assemble — he shot 32%, was benched for the second half of a game and then sprained his ankle in practice, costing him a week's worth of action.

"It's time for Swaggy P to be romantic this month," Young said, referring to his nickname. "I'm [planning on] shooting a high percentage because this is my month. I'm not just saying Black History Month but Valentine's Day. I'm a romantic man."

He wasn't so love-struck after being held out Sunday against New York because the Lakers didn't think his ankle was fully healed. Young complained to reporters that he should have played, something that earned a face-to-face with Coach Byron Scott the following day.

"It was cool. It was real cool," Young said. "I just wanted to know what was going on. We're all right. I should ask him to do the 'Swaggy P' impression one time.

"I understand. I probably wouldn't have been 100%. I didn't have the same lift that I normally have."

Young will play Wednesday against Milwaukee, Scott said.

Amid all the losing by the Lakers (13-35), Young has drawn criticism from some fans who are tired of his always-jubilant persona. And, sure, they'd like to see him shoot better.

Young said he didn't want to suffer the same fate as Pau Gasol or Dwight Howard, who were criticized for underperforming at times during their Lakers tenures, Howard more notably than Gasol.

Scott implied that Young needed to be more patient, specifically if he was benched again for whatever reason.

"Obviously it's something that he hasn't experienced so I think he hasn't taken it very well. But what I do for a living is not personal," Scott said. "My mom is 72 years old. If she can come in and play defense and score for me, I'll put her in the game. It's that simple."

Could be worse

It was stunning. There was actually good injury news for the Lakers.

Jordan Hill was examined by doctors Tuesday in Los Angeles and allowed to fly back to meet the team here Wednesday after he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hip-flexor strain.

He will not play against the Bucks or against Orlando on Friday but might return Sunday against Cleveland, Scott said.

The Lakers were thankful, though. Their relief made sense after Steve Nash, Julius Randle, Xavier Henry and Kobe Bryant had their seasons ended prematurely because of injuries or chronic issues.

"When [Hill] got hurt, you said, 'OK, this will probably be a four-to-six-week thing or something like that," Scott said. "But I don't think it's that bad."

LAKERS AT MILWAUKEE

When: 5 PST.

Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 13-35; Bucks 26-22.

Record vs. Bucks (2013-14): 1-1.

Update: The Bucks have won four consecutive games, including against Portland and Toronto, and remain in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt despite rookie Jabari Parker suffering a season-ending knee injury in mid-December. Point guard Brandon Knight is having another solid season for Milwaukee, averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 assists.

Follow Mike Bresnahan on Twitter @Mike_Bresnahan

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