After almost six weeks without any meaningful updates on Lonzo Ball and his injured ankle, the 21-year-old point guard will be re-evaluated on Thursday afternoon, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
Ball has missed the last 13 games for the Lakers after suffering a Grade 3 ankle sprain on Jan. 19 against the Houston Rockets. Initially, Ball was given a timetable of four-to-six weeks and Saturday will mark exactly six weeks since his injury, but the training staff recently discovered a bone bruise in his left ankle that will likely keep him out beyond six weeks.
The update that will be released tomorrow will give us a better idea of when the Lakers should expect their starting point guard back, but as head coach Luke Walton noted on Monday, there is currently no timetable or set date for his return.
In the 13 games the Lakers have played without Ball, they’ve gone 4-9. Granted, Los Angeles also didn’t have LeBron James for four of those games, but they’ve clearly missed what Ball brings on the court in his absence and James has said so himself.
“We obviously miss another ballhandler, another playmaker,” James told Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “A guy that’s very, very good defensively. With his ability to get a steal and pressure the offensive point guard and then push the pace for us, get into our early offense. So we miss that a lot.”
In the games since Ball’s injury, the Lakers are posting a defensive rating of 115.7, which is the fifth-worst defensive rating in the league over the last 13 games. They also have the worst turnover percentage in the NBA (16.4 percent) since then.
Ball might be a flawed point guard, but when healthy, he offers more than what the Lakers are currently getting out of their point guard positions (read: out of Rajon Rondo). He might not be back next week, but having him back before April would be huge for this team as the try and make a late-season playoff push.