Deng injured the wrist two days ago vs. Detroit. X-rays were negative and he is out indefinitely, according to the Lakers.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 18, 2017
Lakers Forward Luol Deng Out Indefinitely
Deng, 31, has been a regular in the Lakers starting lineup, with the veteran forward starting on 43 occasions this season. Now in his 12th season, Deng struggled early after signing a four-year, $72 million deal in free agency. Deng averaged 6.6 points per game through November and had some Lakers fans nervous after the large summer investment. December was bad for the Lakers, but not necessarily for Deng. The veteran’s scoring average improved to 10.3 per game in a month that saw the team win just two games.
Deng has averaged 8.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 43 games thus far.
With Lakers fans have focused on Deng’s poor scoring numbers, the team’s coaching staff seemed unfazed. Deng has started every game that he’s played and should continue to do so after this injury. Head coach Luke Walton and general manager Mitch Kupchak brought in Deng for veteran leadership and consistent on-court play, something they have received on most occasions.
In Deng’s absence, Walton will likely go one of two ways. Rookie Brandon Ingram could fill in for the injured Deng, something most Lakers fans would love to see. Alternatively, the team can take a reserved approach and move current starting shooting guard Nick Young to small forward, making room for the team to start either Lou Williams or Jordan Clarkson at the two-guard spot.
Deng is a big loss for a Lakers team in desperate need of wins. With the team standing at 15-30, losing a veteran like Deng couldn’t have come at a worse time.