For the Los Angeles Lakers, the growth of their young players is of paramount importance. They are hoping to rebuild their once great franchise around Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Kuzma, but injuries can quickly derail progress.
So far, Ball has already missed a number of games, including the last eight in a row, and now it looks like Ingram may be dealing with an issue of his own. Against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night, head coach Luke Walton opted to use a starting five without a traditional point guard.
Doing so put some of the playmaking burden on Ingram, and he responded with a stat line of 16 points, eight rebounds and a career-high 10 assists. Unfortunately, after the game he experienced groin tightness according to Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
Brandon Ingram a little slow out of the trainers room tonight, getting treatment for right groin tightness. Will be re-evaluated in OKC tomorrow.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) February 3, 2018
The Lakers have already confirmed that Ball will not be ready to play on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and if Ingram is unable to play as well, they will be hard-pressed to find someone who act as a primary playmaker in their stead.
Tyler Ennis had been starting at point guard for the Lakers during Ball’s absence, but Walton went away from that against the Nets and inserted Josh Hart into the starting lineup instead. Hart responded with 15 points and 14 rebounds, so it would seem likely that he sticks in the lineup against the Thunder.
Perhaps the Lakers can move Jordan Clarkson into the starting lineup to act as a ball handler, or Alex Caruso could take on that role, but both would complicate the team’s bench rotation. Though, it remains plausible that Ingram will play in the finale of a five-game road trip.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB