It came as a big surprise when the Los Angeles Lakers announced on Sunday that rookie point guard Lonzo Ball underwent an MRI that revealed a sprained left knee. There had been no signs of any issues with Ball during or after Saturday’s win against the Mavericks.
However, Ball said he could barely walk on Sunday morning, and he subsequently missed Monday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Though he hoped to test things out at practice on Tuesday in advance of suiting up Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Ball was unable to return in the Lakers’ second-straight loss.
Now it looks as if he won’t return this week, as head coach Luke Walton doesn’t believe Lonzo will be ready for Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, according to Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
Ball has missed two straight games with a sore left knee, and he is unlikely to be on the floor when the Lakers host Indiana on Friday.
“He says it feels better but he’s still limping around,” Walton said following the team’s shootaround on Wednesday. Hours later, prior to tipoff, he added Ball “doesn’t look like he’s ready to start playing.”
Ball’s importance to the team can not be understated as he is the engine that turns things up for the Lakers. He makes the game easier for his teammates and his impact is noticeable whenever he isn’t on the floor.
The Lakers are currently 0-8 without Ball on the floor, and while it may not have initially been expected, his impact is missed on both ends. As much as the Lakers need him back, the team will surely move cautiously with any lingering injury so it doesn’t remain bothersome for longer than it has to be.
Exercising such caution may put the Lakers in a tough position, as Ingram tweaked his ankle Wednesday night, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope suffered an Achilles tendon strain, and Kyle Kuzma a sprained finger/knuckle on his left hand.
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