After suffering an ankle injury in Saturday’s game against the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Lonzo Ball will miss approximately 4-6 weeks after an MRI revealed a Grade 3 ankle sprain.
Here is the press release from the team:
Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, who was injured in last night’s game at Houston, underwent an MRI which revealed a Grade 3 left ankle sprain. Ball is expected to miss 4-6 weeks and updates will be provided as appropriate.
In a silver lining, the injury will reportedly not require surgery.
This isn’t the first time Ball has had problems with his left ankle.
In November, Ball suffered a mild left ankle sprain that didn’t require him to miss any time. In fact, prior to this injury, Ball had played in all 47 games for the Lakers. Last season, he suffered a serious injury just 32 games into the season.
The timing of Ball’s injury couldn’t have come a worst time for the 21-year-old. In the month of January, Ball looked like someone that was on the verge of a breakout, averaging 11.1 points on 40 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent shooting from behind the arc to go along with 6.1 rebounds, 7 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
It wasn’t just that his numbers were improving, though. He looked like a more confident player, particularly when shooting the ball and attacking the rim.
Even Brandon Ingram thought Ball was “absolutely” playing some of the best basketball of his young career.
“I think in these last four games he’s been very consistent in what he does. He has the energy, it starts from him picking up 94-feet and him pushing the pace in transition and it goes from there,” Ingram said.
With Ball out at least month, he will miss the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, which he hadn’t been selected for yet, but there was little doubt about whether or not he’d be making the team, especially with the underwhelming amount of talent at the point guard position in the rookie class.
More importantly, Ball will miss a minimum of 11 games for the Lakers during a time when their schedule will start to increase in difficulty. Over the next month, the Lakers will only see three teams that are currently outside of the playoff picture, one being the Minnesota Timberwolves, who L.A. has had problems with this season. Making things even more difficult, the Lakers will also be on the road for seven of their nine games in February.
The good news is that Rajon Rondo should be returning within the week — although probably not in time to play the Golden State Warriors on Monday — as should LeBron James, although the timetable for the latter’s return has been made less clear. Alex Caruso has also been called up from the South Bay Lakers as the parent team looks for any point guard depth they can find.
The Lakers have the talent to survive without Ball, but not having him on the floor will be a huge loss not just in the immediate future for the team, but for his development going forward. Hopefully it won’t also be a huge detriment to their efforts to chase a playoff spot.