In the third stop of their four-game road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers again were on the wrong end of a tough loss, this time to the Indiana Pacers. Arguably nobody had a rougher night, however, than center Timofey Mozgov.
Early in the third quarter Mozgov was on the receiving end of an unintentional elbow from Pacers point guard Jeff Teague. Mozgov had to go into the locker room for a few stitches inside his mouth, but would return. Unfortunately, soon after he would take another shot to the face, this one in the eye as he was driving to the basket.
Mozgov would leave and didn’t return to the game (per NBA rules he couldn’t come back after being unable to shoot his free throws). With the Lakers having to turn right around and take on the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Mozgov’s status for that game is now in question.
According to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell, Mozgov will undergo a scan to check for a potential orbital fracture, while head coach Luke Walton noted that Mozgov looked like he was playing a different sport:
Mozgov will get a scan in Atlanta tomorrow to rule out a possible orbital fracture. Walton said he looks like he was in a heavyweight fight.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 2, 2016
For his part, Mozgov said that as long as he can see, he plans on playing via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
Mozgov on tomorrow vs ATL: "As long as I can see with two eyes, I'm okay. But if I can't see what's going on, there's no way I can play."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) November 2, 2016
Mozgov’s numbers have been pretty solid for the Lakers so far, but his contribution stretches beyond the simple box score. He has been the Lakers’ best rim protector and has been excellent at extending possessions thanks to offensive rebounds.
Hopefully there is nothing serious wrong with Mozgov and he will be ready for a big matchup against Dwight Howard and the Hawks. Mozgov’s size and physicality will be a great counter to Howard.
If he can’t go, Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson will likely need to step up in his place. Walton could also go small and play Larry Nance Jr. at center for extended periods as well.