On Oct. 12, the Lakers announced backup guard Talen Horton-Tucker would have surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament on his right thumb, expected to keep him out for four weeks.
It was a relative blow to Los Angeles, which had the highest roster turnover of any team this offseason and returned just three players: Horton-Tucker and superstar forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Horton-Tucker, who is just 20 years old, has great potential with his skill and length, boasting a 7-foot-1 wingspan with his 6-foot-4 frame.
“There’s nothing Talen doesn’t have to keep him from being an elite player,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
Talen Horton-Tucker says it’s been “hard” to watch the Lakers play while he’s been out with his thumb surgery.
“Just the competitor in me wants to get out there and play.” pic.twitter.com/cofw7p4D4i
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) November 8, 2021
Nearly a month later, Horton-Tucker is nearing a return to the floor, according to Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel. He is set to return to full-contact practice on Tuesday with his season debut expected to soon follow.
Here’s everything you need to know about Horton-Tucker’s status.
How long will Talen-Horton Tucker be out?
Horton-Tucker is nearing a month after his surgery, and he has made good progress by setting himself up to return as a full-contact participant for Tuesday’s practice.
Talen Horton-Tucker will begin contact practice on Tuesday, per Frank Vogel. Horton-Tucker has been out since the preseason following thumb surgery. Vogel said THT will have to be worked back in when fully cleared, but will certainly be a part of the rotation.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 8, 2021
It is currently unclear how long it will be until Horton-Tucker makes his season debut. Vogel said there is no timetable on his return and he will have to be worked back into the rotation once he returns to action.
Frank Vogel says Talen Horton-Tucker will be cleared for contact and to practice tomorrow. There is no timetable yet for his return.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 8, 2021
Horton-Tucker’s return should aid Los Angeles’ bench, which already ranks sixth in the NBA by averaging 38.7 points per game.
However, the team has struggled as of late without James, who is out with an abdominal injury. It is also integrating star guard Russell Westbrook, who has shot a career-low true shooting percentage through the Lakers’ first 10 games.
Talen Horton-Tucker injury timeline
Oct 12: The Lakers announced Horton-Tucker had successful surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament on his right thumb and would be re-evaluated by team doctors in approximately four weeks.
Lakers release on THT: “Talen Horton-Tucker had successful surgery today to repair the ulnar collateral ligament on his right thumb. He is expected to make a full and complete recovery. Horton-Tucker will be reevaluated by team doctors in approximately four weeks.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 12, 2021
Nov. 1: Vogel announced Horton-Tucker had his stitches removed and that the team was hopeful he could begin shooting on Nov. 3.
Frank Vogel said Talen Horton-Tucker had his stitches removed and the Lakers are hopeful he can start shooting tomorrow.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 1, 2021
Nov. 8: Vogel said following the team’s shootaround that Horton-Tucker will be cleared for contact beginning on Tuesday’s practice.