The Los Angeles Lakers will be without two of their most promising young players on Sunday as head coach Luke Walton confirmed that both Lonzo Ball and Moe Wagner will not be available for the team’s preseason opener.
“Moe will not play tomorrow,” Walton said. “He’ll be reevaluated next month.”
The team later clarified that Walton meant and said that Wagner will be reevaluated when the preseason is over.
Moe Wagner will miss all of the preseason with the left knee bone contusion he suffered in Las Vegas Summer League. He will be reevaluated after the preseason.— TV's Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 29, 2018
It’s worth noting that the Lakers initially diagnosed Ball with a left knee contusion as well. Following that diagnosis, Ball was sidelined for four months before deciding to undergo surgery to repair what ended up being a torn meniscus in his left knee. Hopefully things go smoother for Wagner.
Wagner had a real chance at cracking the rotation following a few impressive showings at summer league, but because he’s been inactive since July, it’s safe to assume he’ll start the season off in the G League with the South Bay Lakers and work his way up to the first team, similar to what Josh Hart after he suffered his own injury in the preseason last year.
As for Ball, he continues to impress both Walton and his teammates with how well he has adjusted to getting back on the court.
“I didn’t know he was going to be full go so fast... The bounce is there, the speed is there,” James said before joking “I don’t even know if he had surgery.”
The Lakers will play the Nuggets again on Tuesday, this time in front of the home crowd at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. While it’s unlikely he’ll start, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him get a few minutes off of the bench if he continues to progress the way he has.
Until then, the Lakers will have to dig deep into their 19-man roster to make up for the loss of their only other regular rotation point guard. Expect Alex Caruso and Joel Berry II to see heavy minutes at point guard, as well as Rajon Rondo, who is expected to start.
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