Lakers’ Nick Young, Steve Nash deal with their injuries

Nick Young
Nick Young, shown on Lakers media day, will miss six to eight weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images)

Lakers forward Nick Young still had his sense of humor Saturday after acknowledging he was “a little scared” when he learned Friday a torn ligament in his right thumb would sideline him six to eight weeks.

Lakers guard Steve Nash was more nonchalant when he talked about how he rolled his left ankle early in practice Saturday and was forced to sit the rest of the session.

Young was injured Thursday when he came around a screen while defending Kobe Bryant, reached in from behind and hit Bryant’s elbow.

His thumb swelled up overnight and an MRI exam Friday revealed a tear. Young will have surgery Monday.

“I think it was the same day he was talking trash, and after he said, ‘My body is made of steel,’” Young said, laughing, in reference to Bryant. “At the end of the day, I’m going to be all right.”

“I feel bad for him. I feel bad for us,” Bryant said. “That’s a big loss for us.”

Nash rolled his left ankle when he stepped on rookie forward Julius Randle’s foot during a condition drill.

Nash said there was a “100%" chance of him practicing Sunday.

After missing 64 games last season because of recurring nerve damage in his back, Nash said he wasn’t going to force the issue Saturday.

“I’m over pushing things and taking risk now,” Nash said. “I want to get through tomorrow.”

Young, who wore a black brace on his thumb that ran down to his wrist, said his fear came when Lakers trainer Gary Vitti called to say the injury would require a procedure.

Young said he had hoped Vitti was going to say his thumb was a “little sprain.” But Young said he was a “little hurt” after being told how severe the injury was.

“I was a little scared. I was thinking about the worse,” Young said. “I was thinking about getting surgery, getting cut. That part scared me.”

Lakers Coach Byron Scott had said during the first few days of training camp that Young, who signed a four-deal worth $21.5 million, had a chance at being the NBA’s sixth man of the year.

But the Lakers will miss Young, who averaged a career-high 17.9 points last season.

“Well, it hurts us obviously short term,” Scott said. “Nick is somebody who we count on providing some offense off the bench. So we’ve got to find that elsewhere. I feel bad for Nick, obviously as well, because he brings a lot of energy. He’s an unbelievable personality to the game. Hopefully we can get him back sooner than later.”

Scott said the Lakers, who open the regular season Oct. 28 against Houston, will play Bryant some at backup small forward until Young returns.

When Young arrived at practice Saturday, he was looking forward to relaxing, thinking his injury would get him out of practice.

But Scott made Young participate in about 20 minutes of conditioning and defensive drills.

“I thought I had the day off today,” Young said, smiling. “But they called me in and made me go through the whole conditioning part.”

Said Scott: “As far as I know, when you hurt your hand, your feet are OK, and your legs are too. So he can still do all the stuff that we do.… We’re going to try to keep his conditioning up.”

Also on Saturday, Scott said Ryan Kelly, who has missed practice time with a strained left hamstring, has been improving and hopes to practice after the Lakers’ exhibition game Thursday night. Scott also said Xavier Henry, who is out with back spasms, has been “getting better,” but Scott doesn’t have a timetable for his return.