UPDATE: The Lakers are officially listing Lonzo Ball as questionable for Saturday night’s games against the Sacramento Kings.
While Walton said he believes the injury is nothing serious, he won’t commit to saying whether or not Ball will play Saturday against the Sacramento Kings.
Lonzo Ball tweaked his ankle in practice today. “Hopefully he’s fine,” Luke Walton said, but we’ll check on it tomorrow.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 9, 2018
Walton said he’s unsure if Ball will be able to play tomorrow. He came down on someone’s foot during practice, and they told him to go to the training room.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 9, 2018
Ball missed 30 games for the Lakers last season and was sidelined for all but two games of the preseason this year because of a knee injury. Of the total 34 games he’s missed to date, three were against De’Aaron Fox and the Kings. Coincidence? (Yes, but this narrative is so fun).
If Ball can’t go on Saturday, Walton is confident with the options the team has at point guard (via Lakers.com)
“We felt last year when (Lonzo) got hurt, we were searching for that guy, we finally put Brandon at point guard and that kind of helped us get going again,” said Walton. “This year, we have options to go to if he is out, or if later in the season if other people get hurt, we have guys who we’re very confident can play that point guard position for us. From Brandon, to LeBron (James), to Lance (Stephenson), even Svi (Mykhailiuk), I mean Svi played point guard for his (Ukrainian) national team. We have a lot of guys we feel confident with.”
That being said, Rajon Rondo will likely start in Ball’s place. Rondo started every game he was healthy for before he was suspended for his involvement in the Houston Rockets altercation, better known as “The Spitgate”.
By the time Rondo came back from serving his three-game suspension, Ball had earned the starting job. However, Rondo’s demotion hasn’t had much of affect on his playing time.
Since returning from suspension, Rondo has averaged 25.9 minutes per game while Ball has averaged 24.5 minutes per game. On the season, Rondo is averaging a minute more per game than Ball.
That might seem like an insignificant difference in playing time, but Rondo is getting the bulk of his minutes in the fourth quarter. Since his return, Rondo has averaged 8.6 minutes per game in the fourth quarter. Last game, he played nearly the entire fourth quarter while Ball sat.
If Ball is out for an extended period of time, Rondo might tempt Walton to move him back in the starting five. For Ball’s sake and the team’s, let’s hope it’s nothing serious.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas. Christian and Grant go into the Rondo vs. Lonzo debate on this week’s episode of “Can You Dig It?”