Another one bites the dust.
Bad luck has struck the Los Angeles Lakers again. After injuries to superstar LeBron James, and point guard Rajon Rondo, the injury bug has bitten another prominent Laker.
The Lakers announced on Sunday afternoon that point guard Lonzo Ball is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain suffered in the team’s 138-134 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
Ball suffered the injury in the third quarter after turning his ankle driving into James Eniss III. Ball immediately went down on the floor, holding his ankle as he writhed in pain.
Ball was carried by teammates Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson to the locker room where he was then transferred to a nearby hospital for x-rays. Initial x-rays were negative for a fracture, but an MRI on Sunday morning revealed the Grade 3 sprain.
“I just told him to keep his head up,” Walton said after the game of Ball’s injury. “They took him to the hospital for X-rays and he will get an MRI and we’ll see where we go after that.”
The Lakers were leading the Rockets by 18 points when Ball went down the injury, and Houston immediately went on a 15-0 run, and would ultimately win the game in the extra period.
“Right when Lonzo went down is exactly when the game went away,” said Lakers’ forward Brandon Ingram after the loss. “We lost momentum a little bit. Got away from what we were doing a little bit. Some of the pressure and defensive rebounding went down.”
The only silver lining for Los Angeles is that Rondo has been dribbling and practicing recently after suffering a torn ligament in his right ring finger in a Christmas Day victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Rondo will be re-evaluated after the Lakers shootaround on Monday, but Walton said he would not be rushed back just for Ball. Instead, the team is likely to call up Alex Caruso from the G-League, and hand off ball handling duties to Stephenson and Ingram until Rondo can return.
Meanwhile, James is also close to returning, and will also be re-evaluated after the shootaround, but he is expected to miss the Martin Luther King Day rematch with the Warriors, but will resume full-contact practice this week.
Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season.