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Mo Bamba upgraded to doubtful with left ankle sprain, return likely to come this week

After a month with a sprained ankle, Mo Bamba’s return to the Lakers seems imminent and could be a boost for the team heading into the postseason.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies Set Number: X164319 TK1

For most of the month of March as the Lakers have pushed up the playoff standings, they’ve done so while shorthanded in the frontcourt. Mo Bamba’s injury against the Warriors on March 5 left the Lakers with one natural center on the roster and while the team has survived without him, it hasn’t come without a cost, even if it was self-inflicted.

The good news is that Bamba looks set to return in the near future and potentially before the Lakers postseason run. On Tuesday, Bamba was upgraded — after D’Angelo Russell was downgraded — from out to doubtful ahead of the team’s game against the Jazz.

Bamba was set to be re-evaluated this week and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, speaking recently on the “Late Night Lake Show” podcast, revealed his return was likely imminent.

Bamba’s limited time on the court with the Lakers had some mixed results. For one, his debut was delayed by a suspension from his time in Orlando. When he did take a court, he fouled out in his first game and had more scoreless games (3) than games scoring in double digits (2).

But statistics aside, Bamba’s size is sorely needed on this Lakers roster more than anything. And he has contributed in non-scoring ways, averaging 5.3 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game in his seven games so far.

As the Lakers look set for some form of a postseason, whether in a play-in game or straight into the playoffs, Bamba could be a very important piece for the team. Matchups matter in the postseason but considering how thin the Lakers are in the frontcourt, Bamba very well could factor in some way.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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