- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- After a season ravaged by injuries to the entire roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are finally finding a light at the end of the tunnel.
Young has missed 17 of the Lakers' last 18 games because of a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise in his left knee. Hill has been out since Feb. 28 with a sore right knee.
Both players underwent three practices with the team this week without a hitch and are ready to return.
"Ain’t too much Swaggy can’t do out there," said Young, who had his last comeback from the knee injury cut short, playing just one game on Feb. 23 before deciding to sit out again. "I feel good. That’s the reason I want to get back out there."
D'Antoni said he expected mixed results from Young.
"He could be rusty," D'Antoni said. "He could be rusty the third game, first game, second game. It could be the second half. Who knows. You play it by ear. As long as you know he's playing well, he'll stay on the floor. If not, we'll sub him in and out. It's good to get him back and get him back in the flow."
Young is the Lakers' second-leading scorer this season, averaging 16.8 points along with 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists in just 28.6 minutes per game. Hill was averaging career highs in points (8.2), rebounds (6.8) and field goal percentage (54.0) before his injury.
Young has a player option for next season worth $1.2 million. If he chooses to opt out and can't come to a new agreement with the Lakers, this could be the last 15-game stretch of his career with his hometown team. Hill's Lakers' future is also up in the air as he's one of 11 players on L.A.'s 15-man roster set to become a free agent this summer.
"Just play hard," Young said of his mindset upon his return. "Letting the fans know that I want to be here and I want to do what it takes for me to get some wins, let them see how hard I play."
In other injury news, the Lakers welcomed Steve Nash back to practice Thursday after D'Antoni had initially said last week that Nash would miss the rest of the season because of persistent nerve root irritation.
"He went through all of practice," D'Antoni said, later adding that Thursday was a non-contact practice. "He's a little closer. It's a possibility. We're not saying yay or nay. But we're trying to work him back."
Also, Chris Kaman did not participate in practice and will undergo an MRI on his sore foot. Kaman has not played in the Lakers' last eight games.
12hMatt Walks, ESPN.com
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2dJason McCallum, ESPN Stats & Info
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com