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Preview: Jeremy Lin and the Charlotte Hornets visit the Lakers today

Former Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin will return on Sunday, as the Charlotte Hornets (22-25) visit the Lakers (9-40) at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant's status (sore shoulder) remains unclear. The all-star guard sat out on Friday when the Lakers hosted the Clippers.

Rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. will sit with a sore knee.

The Hornets are dealing with a long list of injured players, including center Al Jefferson (knee), Nicolas Batum (toe) and Cody Zeller (shoulder).

Even Lin, who suffered an ankle injury, isn't guaranteed. Jeremy Lamb (toe) and P.J. Hairston (elbow) have been struggling with injuries as well.

Key matchup

Kemba Walker has done his best to keep the Hornets afloat, scoring an average of 20.3 points a game, along with five assists and 1.8 steals.

The explosive guard is shooting 42.6% from the field and 36.3% from behind the three-point line.

Walker scored 38 points on the Lakers earlier in the year. He's a lot to handle.

Lin has been a steady backup for Walker, scoring 12.5 points with 3.2 assists nightly.

The Lakers will counter with Jordan Clarkson and rookie D'Angelo Russell. Though both have shown ability offensively, they need to grow on the defensive end.

X-factor

The Hornets have forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back from a shoulder injury. The defensive ace scored 13 points in his season debut Friday.

Julius Randle is coming off one of his best games of the season, a 23-point, 14-rebound effort in Friday's loss to the Clippers.

Outlook

The Lakers have lost nine straight but have an opportunity to end that streak against the injured Hornets, though Walker may still be too much for them to handle.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

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