Los Angeles Lakers rookie Ivica Zubac was hopeful he’d get to return to the lineup soon after hurting his ankle in the team’s loss to the Minnestota Timberwolves, but he won’t get his wish. The Lakers announced Friday that Zubac will miss the rest of the season after an MRI revealed a high ankle sprain. The team says Zubac will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Zubac, the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, had been one of the few bright spots for the Lakers in another lottery bound season. The 19-year old center had especially come on of late, averaging 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game in March, which would translate to 19.1 and 8.3 per 36 minutes. Zubac did so while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.
With nothing left to play for other than lottery position, the Lakers being cautious with Zubac makes sense. In his absence, expect to see more of Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson, plus even more small-ball lineups featuring either Julius Randle or Larry Nance, Jr. at center.
All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.