Nick Young ready to return for Lakers against Hawks

Laker Nick Young returns to play tonight after almost seven weeks out because of a torn ligament in his thumb

Nick Young will make his season debut Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks after missing almost seven weeks because of a torn ligament in his right thumb.

Will he be ready?

"His mouth is," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said with a smile Tuesday.

The loquacious Lakers forward can only help after averaging a career-high 17.9 points last season.

Young will come off the bench for now for the Lakers (1-9), who are off to their worst 10-game start ever.

He might soon find himself in the starting lineup if the inconsistencies continue for the Lakers' offense and incumbent small forward Wesley Johnson.

Young is one of few Lakers who can create his own shot, and his light-hearted presence will be welcome in the locker room.

"He's an energy-giver," Scott said. "He's one of those guys, when he's on the floor, when he's in practice, he gives a lot of energy. He enjoys the game. He's not an energy-taker, so that's a plus."

Just as Young returns, though, the Lakers lose Ryan Kelly for at least six weeks because of recurring hamstring problems. He sustained a new strain in his right hamstring Sunday against Golden State and will be gone until January.

"It's just unbelievable that he tears his hamstring in the same leg, just a different place," Scott said. "And we were very cautious. We made sure we took our sweet time in getting him back."

Reserve guard Wayne Ellington is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday in Houston or for Friday's game in Dallas. Ellington is on indefinite leave after his father was fatally shot last week.

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