Ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers playing a 13th consecutive game without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the team knew their two leaders were set to rejoin them at practice. Though, despite that, head coach Luke Walton said neither was likely to play Monday.
If not against the Golden State Warriors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the next opportunity for James and Rondo to return from respective injuries is Thursday when the Lakers host the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With that in the back of their mind and as the Lakers were playing toward a second consecutive win and sweep of their two-game road trip, the injury bug struck yet again as Lonzo Ball suffered a sprained left ankle in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Houston Rockets.
An X-ray came back negative but Ball underwent an MRI that revealed a Grade 3 sprain. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.
Ahead of knowing the full extent of Ball’s injury, Walton said it would not impact the Lakers’ handling of James and Rondo, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“That won’t rush up. We won’t rush his playing time up at all. We’ve got to make sure with him and LeBron, that they’re healthy. So when they get back we can keep them.”
Ball has previously rolled his left ankle this season and managed to play without missing any time. However, this was the first instance in which he needed to be carried off the court while he was unable to put any weight on his left leg.
Presuming James or Rondo aren’t yet able to return on Monday, the Lakers will be further hamstrung than they’ve already been since Christmas.
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