Lonzo Ball is set for a spell on the sidelines after injuring his ankle on Saturday, yet Lakers head coach Luke Walton insists it will not cause him to rush back LeBron James or Rajon Rondo.
Second-year point guard Ball was forced off the court during Saturday’s (Sunday, Manila time) 138-134 overtime loss to the Rockets, though subsequent X-rays on his ankle injury came back negative.
However, Ball could still miss a significant amount of time and that would be a big loss to a Lakers team fighting for a postseason berth.
James and Rondo have both been missing since the team’s Christmas Day win over the Warriros with respective groin and finger injuries, and though Walton previously said he was hopeful both would practice on Sunday, he also added it was unlikely either would play against the NBA champions on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time)
Furthermore, Walton insists the Ball injury will not change the Lakers’ plans for James and Rondo.
“We won’t rush [Rondo’s] playing time at all,” Walton told reporters.
Battled for 53 minutes.
Kuzma: 32 pts, 8 reb
Ingram: 21 pts
Zubac: 17 pts pic.twitter.com/5mxMGnmkCJ
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 20, 2019
“We’ve got to make sure with him and LeBron that they’re healthy so when they get back we can keep them
“We’ll call up [Alex] Caruso from the G League and we’ll get back at it.”
Ball, selected second overall in the 2017 draft, failed to live up to the hype in his rookie season.
However, Walton felt there were recent signs of improvement and he therefore hopes to have Ball back again soon.
“I just told him to keep his head up,” he added.
“They took him to hospital to get the X-rays, we will do an MRI, and we’ll see where we’re at from that.
“He’s really done a nice job of turning a corner. We’ll see where we’re at, how long he’s out for and hopefully get him up and running again and playing at the level he was playing at before he got hurt.”