Already having been without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo for a prolonged stretch, matters became even more dire for the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend when Lonzo Ball suffered what was determined to be a Grade 3 sprained left ankle.
While that entails a tear in the ligament, Ball won’t require surgery. However, he’s nevertheless expected to miss four to six weeks. Absent of their three primary ballhandlers, the Lakers struggled to generate any sort of rhythm on offense in their 130-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Reinforcement may be on the way as Lakers head coach Luke Walton anticipates Rondo being able to return. “I think Rondo will play Thursday, as long as he continues to move with no setbacks until then,” Walton explained.
“That’ll be something we’ll keep pushing him and re-evaluate each morning.”
Like James, Rondo has not played since the Lakers notched an impressive win against the Warriors on Christmas. The team is 5-9 without the two veterans, and figure to see James sidelined beyond Thursday.
“I haven’t seen him do contact yet, so I don’t feel as confident (in James potentially returning Thursday). But you know how serious he is about his rehab,” Walton said.
“He’s doing everything possible. We talked, I know he’s dying to get back on the basketball court, but he also knows getting healthy is top priority. Whenever that day comes, he’ll be back out there. I would say right now I feel more confident about Rondo being ready for Thursday.”
Brandon Ingram was pressed into point guard duty with the starters, and Lance Stephenson filled the role off the bench. Ingram successfully played point guard during a stretch last February, but he’s anticipating Rondo’s return.
“It gives us a leader. It gives us a leader on the basketball floor who puts us in our spots on the offensive end and pushes the pace,” Ingram said. “He can score the basketball. It just makes our team better.”
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