Whatever glimmer of hope the Los Angeles Lakers had on the injury front heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Utah Jazz was dashed when head coach Luke Walton announced Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma would not play. Brandon Ingram also missed a fifth consecutive game.
Ball and Kuzma were both listed as questionable ahead of the game, while Ingram was already considered out due to not yet being cleared of the NBA’s concussion protocol. Ball missed a sixth straight game due to a left knee contusion, and Kuzma sat because of a sprained left ankle.
“Kuz was in trying to do some stuff, had some pain. Zo is doing better but says his knee is still bothering him. Brandon is still in the concussion protocol,” Walton said. The trio, which represent the foundation of the Lakers’ young core, are working to recover from their respective injuries.
“They’re all actively trying to get healthy,” Walton said. He did not, however, commit to those efforts being for this season. The Lakers have just two games remaining, a back-to-back that begins Tuesday.
“Their motive behind it, I’m not sure, but they are actively coming in every day doing their treatments and getting their work in,” Walton added.
Since none of Ball, Ingram or Kuzma are medically cleared to return, the second-year coach is “not really worried about” potentially needing to decide whether or not to insert them back into the lineup.
Though, if there is a frontrunner, Walton conceded it would likely be Ingram because of the nature of his injury compared to Ball’s and Kuzma’s. “There’s definitely a difference,” Walton said. But, the time Ingram has missed, coupled with the Lakers’ schedule, complicates matters.
“I would not be very comfortable,” Walton said of possibly playing Ball or Ingram should either be cleared. “With the fact there’s one day left without a game and then a back-to-back.”