Sore knee forces Larry Nance Jr. to leave Lakers' game at Milwaukee

Sore knee forces Larry Nance Jr. to leave Lakers' game at Milwaukee
Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. is expected to play "limited minutes" against Dallas on Sunday. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

The season that won't stop bringing down the Lakers has continued to pester Larry Nance Jr.

The reserve power forward left another game because of persistent soreness in his right knee, leading to a big-picture discussion between Lakers Coach Byron Scott and long-time trainer Gary Vitti.


The plan for now was to not shut Nance down the rest of the season, Scott said, and hope he could play Wednesday against Memphis.

Nance left the Lakers' 108-101 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday after logging a little more than a minute in the third quarter. He finished with two points and three rebounds in 10 minutes.

The normally affable Nance said the injury was "obviously frustrating," the constant discomfort curbing a once-promising rookie season.

The Lakers, and Nance, are reluctant to go beyond calling it a "sore knee."

"We know what it is but it's a long-winded answer," Nance said. "It's something that at the beginning of the year next year, it'll be in the rear-view mirror."

Nance, who missed time last October because of knee tendinitis, said he would "absolutely not" need surgery after this season and would rely instead on strengthening the area to prevent further pain.

Whatever the cause, it's troubling for the Lakers because they already shut down Nance for three weeks. He resumed play last Friday against San Antonio and made it through a little more than 21/2 games before being unable to go any longer.

"Gary and I just talked about it," Scott said after Monday's loss. "I told him what I think and he told me what he thinks. That's what he does [for a living], so I'm going to go by what he thinks right now. We're going to just do the treatment and see what happens on Wednesday."

Nance was drafted 27th overall by the Lakers in June and strung together some nice games starting in late December with a 17-point, 11-rebound effort against Memphis. He showed excellent jumping ability and also soft touch with his mid-range jump shot.

The first sign of a problem came when he lasted only three minutes Jan. 16 against Utah. He sat out the next four games, returned for three, and then sat out six games leading into the All-Star break. His last double-double was Jan. 10 against Utah (10 points and 11 rebounds).

Nance, 23, encountered two different types of medical issues in college at Wyoming. He suffered a torn ligament in his right knee as a junior and contracted mononucleosis as a senior.