When the Los Angeles Lakers began their four-game road trip there was some hope Brandon Ingram would return from a groin strain that’s sidelined him since March 3. But the sophomore forward has yet to go through a full practice, and remains out through Saturday.
In addition to Ingram, the Lakers have been without Josh Hart since the beginning of the month. Injuries have played a factor in the team’s current four-game losing streak and their stalled momentum after an impressive stretch to begin 2018.
And to make matters worse, the Lakers will be shorthanded for their two remaining games on the road trip, as Isaiah Thomas is nursing a sore hip, according to Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
Isaiah Thomas is out for the final two games of the trip with a sore hip.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 24, 2018
It might be an ominous sign for Thomas and the Lakers, as he spent the offseason rehabbing a hip injury suffered in last year’s playoffs. Thomas’ 2017-18 campaign didn’t begin until January, and he played in just 15 games before being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In addition to Thomas, though not quite as impactful, the Lakers won’t have the option to play Luol Deng, who suffered a sprained ankle, per Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
Luol Deng sprained his ankle yesterday. He is questionable to be available to sit on the bench in uniform and watch the game.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) March 24, 2018
Even if healthy, Deng wasn’t a likely candidate to receive any minutes. When the Lakers’ depth at wing was decimated because of injuries, internal discussions were held on whether or not to begin playing the veteran forward, which was ultimately decided against.
Deng recently explained that was because of the possibility he could unnecessarily injure himself. Without Thomas and in theory Deng as well, head coach Luke Walton will have a bench rotation comprised of Tyler Ennis, Travis Wear, Ivica Zubac and Channing Frye, who himself recently returned from injury.