Nance practices with Lakers

EL SEGUNDO — When Larry Nance Jr. broke his left hand against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 2, that initial timetable for his return was four to six weeks.

“That wasn’t my plan,” Nance said Saturday after practice.

Indeed it wasn’t. Nance participated in a full-contact practice with the team just 23 days after having his left hand surgically repaired. He expects to return to action Monday against the L.A. Clippers.

“That’s the goal as of now,” Nance said. “I would like to be back. I think the guys would like me back. Luke, I would hope, would like me back.”

Nance only spent three days in a cast, and was able to palm a basketball just a week and a half after surgery. He said Saturday was a good step forward and he’ll know more after today’s practice.

Lakers head coach Luke Walton said if everything goes well, he’ll put Nance back in the starting lineup. Kyle Kuzma has started in Nance’s place over the past three weeks.

“If he’s good to go and cleared and ready, I don’t see any reason to not put him back in the starting lineup,” Walton said.

Nance said it did not matter to him whether he or Kuzma got the starting nod.

“Kuz is my guy,” Nance said. “So whether he starts, I start, it doesn’t matter. It’s not gonna cause any kind of rift. I’m not gonna be upset about it or anything like that. It’s something that he’s competing for, I’m competing for, and whatever Luke decides, whatever helps us win – I think that’s the page we’re both on.”

Lonzo Ball was glad to get Nance back on the floor with him and the rest of the team.

“We’ve been missing him,” Ball said. “Definitely provides a lot of energy, defense, rebounding. He does a lot of little things to help the team win. So definitely happy to have him back.”

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