The Los Angeles Lakers received some good news on the injury front Wednesday morning, clearing Brook Lopez for his return after missing eight games with an ankle injury. Lopez last played on Dec. 18 in the Lakers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors. He’ll be available to suit up against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brook’s return comes at a time when the Lakers need all hands on deck, the team currently on a seven-game losing streak. The lineup has been in a state of flux, with the in-and-out nature of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope adding to the inconsistencies in a team that looked formidable before the wheels began falling off in December.
In not-great news, Lonzo Ball remains a scratch against the Thunder despite being cleared to return to practice after missing six games with a sprained left shoulder. Ball was feeling soreness in his shoulder after getting in a workout Tuesday, but the Lakers are targeting a potential return on Friday against the Charlotte Hornets.
Lonzo Ball will not play tonight vs. OKC because his left shoulder is still “a little sore,” Luke Walton says.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 3, 2018
The plan is for Lonzo to take part in practice Thursday with the hope of playing Friday vs. Charlotte.
Meanwhile, head coach Luke Walton is keeping his starting lineup against the Thunder close to the vest. Something we’re learning from Walton early into his head coaching days is he certainly doesn’t like publicly committing to a lineup change until he absolutely has to, and that’ll be the case Wednesday as Lopez prepares to return.
The Lakers, with a five-game homestand in front of them, could be back up to 100 percent as early as Friday. That’s a small victory amidst an ugly losing streak.