The Los Angeles Lakers are feeling the bumps and bruises of playing through half of the 2017-18 NBA season, particularly with Lonzo Ball missing stretches of games over the last month.
Ball was ruled out of the Lakers’ game against the Indiana Pacers more than a day before they played, dealing with a sprained knee that’s sidelined him for two games. Lonzo did not participate in shootaround before the Pacers game, and the training staff wants to see him go through practice before clearing him.
That puts Ball’s status against the New York Knicks for an early Sunday outing into question. It should be clear by mid-day tomorrow whether Lonzo can finally make his return, as reported by Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles.
Elsewhere, X-rays confirmed that Julius Randle jammed his right ring finger and suffered a mallet fracture. Fortunately it’s his non-shooting hand, and Randle intends to play through the injury.
We’ve even got a brief Kentavious Caldwell-Pope update to roll into this report:
Regarding KCP injury, Walton said the training staff is "pleased with where he’s at than where they thought he’d be at. Moving better, but not ready to go for tonight."— Bill Oram (@billoram) January 19, 2018
The Lakers — and other front offices watching for that matter — have less than a month to evaluate the roster before the trade deadline. The drop in level of play that comes with the territory of dealing with injuries certainly doesn’t help that cause.