Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. had an MRI exam Wednesday that showed a bone bruise, but was otherwise inconclusive because of swelling in his left knee.
The Lakers have said Nance will be out indefinitely. He will be reexamined by the team doctor Sunday.
Nance suffered the injury while chasing a loose ball during the third quarter of the Lakers’ 117-113 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Teammates helped Nance off the court.
Nance left the arena with the help of crutches.
Against the Hornets, Nance played for a little less than 21 minutes. He scored 10 points on four-for-five shooting with four rebounds, two assists, two steals and two turnovers.
Nance had a right knee contusion this month. He also suffered a torn knee ligament in college but that was also in his right knee.
This season, Nance is averaging seven points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
“Larry gives us a lot of versatility,” Coach Luke Walton said. “He’s probably our most intelligent player as far as reading defenses and being able to cover for people. With him able to shoot, and roll to the rim, and get extra possessions for us, however long he’s out is gonna be a huge loss for us.”
Forward Luol Deng signed a four-year deal worth $72 million with the Lakers in the off-season after spending the previous two seasons with the Miami Heat.
Before the free-agency process began, Deng wanted to return to Miami. The Heat’s priorities, though, meant the timing wasn’t right for him to wait on them.
“I think with signing Hassan [Whiteside] and then they had to negotiate with D-Wade. Other teams were offering me. I called Pat Riley and I called [Coach Erik Spoelstra] and I told them this is something I can’t turn down.”
The Heat signed Whiteside for four years and $98 million, and Dwyane Wade’s decision to leave the Heat for the Chicago Bulls came after Deng decided to leave. Looking back, he isn’t sure whether that wold have changed anything for his future with the team.
Still, Deng loved his time in Miami. It was a change for him after being drafted seventh overall by the Bulls in 2004 and spending most of his career with them.
“When I went to Miami, I came into a team that had vets,” Deng said. “They had won championships. They had Chris Bosh and D-Wade. So I just sat back and really kind of just focused on my game and see how I could help out and enjoy their great system.”
Center Tarik Black did not practice and the Lakers listed him as questionable for Thursday’s game at Miami.
Jose Calderon remains out because of a strained right hamstring and point guard D’Angelo Russell is probable, but remains on the injury report listed because of a sore left knee.
Russell was rested against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, which was the second game of a back to back. Walton said he doesn’t anticipate needing to rest Russell more.
The Lakers will play back-to-back games to conclude their seven-game trip this week. They’ll face the Orlando Magic on Friday.
When: 5 p.m. PST Thursday.
Where: American Airlines Arena.
On the air: TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet, Spectrum Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.
Records: Lakers 11-20; Heat 9-20.
Record vs. Heat (2015-16): 1-1.
Update: Shaquille O’Neal will have his statue unveiled outside Staples Center in March, but the Heat will be honoring him in a smaller way on Thursday when the two teams with which he won championships face each other. Miami will retire O’Neal’s jersey during halftime against the Lakers. He will be the third Heat player to have his jersey retired, following Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway.