While the Los Angeles Lakers are coming off an exhilarating overtime win against the San Antonio Spurs to snap a three-game losing streak, they remain without their top two playmakers in Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram for Friday’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It’s a fifth consecutive game Ball will miss since suffering a left knee contusion on March 28 that prevented him from playing in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks. Ball was sent for a precautionary MRI that didn’t reveal any additional injury.
The bruise wasn’t considered serious, though when Ball recently played 2-on-2, it led to soreness the following day. He was not with the team on Wednesday due to also feeling ill, Lakers head coach Luke Walton explained.
Walton has been adamant in that Ball will not return to the lineup unless he pain-free. What’s more, the second-year head coach said the team was preparing as though they will finish the regular season without Ball or Ingram.
Friday’s game is a fourth in a row that Ingram sits after suffering a concussion March 30. It’s believed he sustained the injury on a foul in the third quarter, though Ingram continued playing before checking out for good two minutes into overtime.
He passed a preliminary concussion test that evening, but was placed into the NBA’s concussion protocol the following morning. Ingram can not return without advancing through stages of physical activity and receiving clearance from an independent doctor.
At this juncture, it would be more of a surprise should Ball or Ingram return to the court than if the duo misses the remaining four games. After Friday, the Lakers next play Sunday, then Tuesday and Wednesday. Each of the contests are being played at Staples Center.