Nick Young successfully underwent surgery Monday to repair the torn radial collateral ligament in his right thumb.
According to the Lakers, the guard-forward will miss approximately eight weeks. The procedure was performed by Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.
Young was injured Thursday in an intra-squad scrimmage, jamming the thumb of his shooting hand while reaching in, trying to defend Kobe Bryant. An MRI exam Friday revealed the ligament tear.
“Well he’s got to move his feet on defense,” joked Bryant on NBA TV on Friday. “That’s the lesson to be learned. If you reach, you’re going to get hurt.”
If Young returns at exactly the eight-week mark, he’ll return on Dec 2., when the Lakers visit the Detroit Pistons, sitting out the team’s first 17 games (20.7% of the season).
Before the injury, Coach Byron Scott said he intended to use Young in the role of bench scorer. Without Young, Scott may need to give bigger minutes than planned to rookie Jordan Clarkson at shooting guard, with Bryant shifting at times to small forward.
Guard Wayne Ellington, playing on a nonguaranteed contract, may benefit from Young’s absence as well.
The Lakers open the preseason tonight in San Diego, hosting the Denver Nuggets. The 2014-15 regular season starts Oct. 28 at Staples Center, as the Lakers host the Houston Rockets.