Injury Update: Luke Walton

The Lakers could get a bench boost from within later this week, according to Coach Phil Jackson.

Luke Walton, who has played in only 24 of L.A.’s 72 games due to a pinched nerve in his lower back, may be ready to go sooner than later.

“Walton I think will start practicing next week,” said Phil Jackson. “(He) may even get on the court Thursday when we get back, get in a practice before the Utah game (Friday).”

The excellent-passing forward’s target return date has long been early April, so that he can get some game action in before L.A. begins its title defense in the playoffs.