Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng underwent successful surgery on Wednesday to repair an injury to his right pectoral muscle. Deng is ruled out until the end of September but he is expected to fully recover from the injury.
The Lakers announced on the official website of the NBA on Wednesday that Deng underwent surgery. The team also noted that the 32-year-old will return just in time for the 2017-18 training camp. Deng is entering his second season with the Lakers.
"Los Angeles Lakers forward Luol Deng underwent successful surgery this morning to repair his right pectoral muscle. Deng is expected to make a full recovery by the start of the 2017-18 training camp," the Lakers announcement noted.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Deng suffered the injury during a training session in the offseason. The injury reportedly happened while he was lifting weights and it was not a problem during the season.
"The Man from Sudan" was released from the hospital just hours after surgery. Deng has not had a good first season with the Lakers. He signed four-year, $72 million contract last month and he expected that he will be a big part of the team's rebuilding process.
However, it was not the case as he only started 49 games and played a total of 56 games in his first year in Hollywood. He was shut down the Lakers coaching staff seven games after he was demoted to a reserve role in favor of rookie Brandon Ingram. Deng finished the season with averages of 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
One of the reasons why the Lakers shut down Deng for the final two months of the season is to give playing time to the team's younger players, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Deng was shut down along with center Timofey Mozgov, who signed a four-year, $64 million deal.
Shelburne noted that Deng, as well as Mozgov, was fine with the Lakers' decision to shut them down. As a result, the Lakers finished the season with a record of 26-56, the third-worst in the league after the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns.
Many people viewed it as a tanking strategy by the Lakers since they will lose their 2017 first round pick if it falls out of the Top 3. The Lakers are hoping to draft Lonzo Ball, who is one of the top players in this year's class.
The Lakers are under a new regime so Deng, as well as Mozgov, might not be part of the Lakers' plans next season. The team is desperate to make it back to the playoffs but they cannot do anything about the two veterans because of how large their contracts are.
However, the Lakers are interested in acquiring Paul George from the Indiana Pacers. They could use Deng as a trade chip due to his contract and add a couple of young players, as well as a draft pick to sweeten the deal.
In other Lakers news, the team parted ways with several staff members including strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, who resigned, and his assistant Sean Light was fired. Even Tania Jolly, who served as the coordinator of basketball operations for a long time, was let a couple of weeks ago, per Ganguli.
Rondre Jackson, who was the director of player development, was also fired last month. The recent firings are part of the plans of the new Lakers regime headed by team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.
Johnson and Pelinka have a tough task ahead but it helps that the Lakers have some money to use, as well as a nice haul of draft picks and young players. Lakers fans should hope that everything works out for the team this summer.