After dropping their first two games without Ball and Ingram, the Lakers regrouped and got a win against the San Antonio Spurs in overtime on Wednesday. But even coming off of an inspiring win, the Lakers could still use the help of their most promising youngsters.
Head coach Luke Walton said he doesn’t intend on bringing Ball back until he is 100 percent pain free and that may or may not be before the end of the season.
“Would we like to get Lonzo and Brandon back? Yes, we would like to,” Walton said via Spectrum SportsNet. “But we plan on not having them. We plan on having the guys that are in the locker room. We’ll probably get some of our G League guys back, being at home again. But if we get them back, that’s great. If not, we’re going to keep preparing with these guys.”
The Lakers will in fact have some reinforcements from the South Bay Lakers on Friday after South Bay was eliminated from the G League playoffs on Thursday. Gary Payton II, Alex Caruso, Travis Wear and Thomas Bryant will all be in uniform against the Timberwolves.
Meanwhile, Ingram will continue to work his way through the NBA’s concussion protocol. Per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, Ingram has started the process he must go through before returning, but he still has a little ways to go.
Brandon Ingram will have to go through several activities without his concussion symptoms returning before he can play. Today he did the first of those: riding a stationary bike. After 24 hours if the symptoms don't return, he'll go on to the next step. He's out for tomorrow.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 6, 2018
With just three games left in the season after Friday, Ball and Ingram are running out of time to make their returns. However, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that they can head into the summer healthy.
Even if they win every game for the rest of the season, the Lakers won’t finish higher or lower than the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference. If there’s no rush to bring them back, it’s best they take their time.