UPDATE 9:01 p.m. ET: Nick Young’s MRI showed a complete tear of a ligament in his right thumb, with surgery set for Monday. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Young could be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.
7:44 p.m. ET: The benefits of Kobe Bryant being back to full strength and challenging his young teammates in a practice setting could be huge for the Lakers as the season progresses. Bryant’s experience, along with his trash talk could potentially bring out the best in everyone, while motivating guys to perform if for no other reason than to prevent being embarrassed.
Things can get out of control if allowed to go too far, however, and we may have a small example of that which came out of Friday’s practice.
The latest [injury] involved Lakers forward Nick Young, who sprained his right thumb during Friday’s practice. The practice was not to open to the media when Young’s injury happened, but the Lakers say the incident occurred when Young unsuccessfully tried to steal the ball from Kobe Bryant. Young soon left the practice court to receive an MRI.
Both Young and Bryant have playfully exchanged barbs in recent practice, and those who witnessed the injury say both players playfully talked trash both before and after the injury.
It’s less than ideal, obviously, if players are over-exerting themselves just to avoid a verbal lashing from one of the game’s all-time greats.
Lakers head coach Byron Scott piled on a bit after the injury occurred, blaming Young for exhibiting a lack of fundamentals.
Nick Young injured thumb while defending Kobe. Byron Scott told Nick, “If you would have moved your feet you wouldn’t have hurt your hand.”
There are a couple of takeaways here. One is that Kobe should probably ease off the trash talk some in practice, because it’s clear the younger players on the team might be motivated by it a bit too much. And two, Scott is going to be a coach who favors and sides with his veteran players in almost every incident that takes place.
The young guys on the team have a few more weeks to let both of these facts sink in before the long grind of the regular season begins.