Less than 24 hours after it was first reported that Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram would likely miss the rest of the 2018-19 NBA season due to a medical condition, it now appears that another young Lakers star — point guard Lonzo Ball — won’t be suiting up for the team’s remaining 16 games.
On Saturday morning, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Chris Haynes took to Twitter to report that there was a “strong suspicion” that the 21-year-old Ball would be ruled out for the rest of the Lakers’ 2018-19 campaign after he had his injured left ankle, which was re-evaluated earlier in the day. Hours later, this was followed up on by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, who tweeted that Ball’s season was indeed over following his re-evaluation and that both he and the Lakers had mutually agreed on the move.
“For Ball, this will be an opportunity to regain complete health and come into the offseason ready for on-court and body training,” Charania added in a subsequent tweet. “Ball has not had a full summer to work on his game, being limited from a knee injury last offseason.”
The reports of Lonzo Ball getting shut down due to his ankle injury came on the same day that the Los Angeles Lakers announced that team doctors had found a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in Brandon Ingram’s arm. As confirmed in an NBA.com news release, the third-year forward, who had missed the prior two games with a sore right shoulder, is expected to be out for the remainder of the 2018-19 season. Per Sports Illustrated, Ingram was averaging 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and three assists for the entire season, and had increased his scoring to 27.8 points per game after the All-Star break.
While Ingram had raised his level of play in the weeks leading up to his DVT diagnosis, Lonzo Ball had struggled at various points in the Lakers’ 2018-19 campaign, averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists and shooting just 40.6 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from three-point range, per a separate NBA.com release. Ball has not played since the Lakers’ January 19 game against the Houston Rockets, where he suffered what was later on confirmed to be a Grade 3 ankle sprain.
Aside from the recent developments surrounding Ball and Ingram, previous reports have suggested that the Lakers are planning to place four-time MVP LeBron James on a minutes restriction for the rest of the season. With all that in mind, as well as the fact that the Lakers (30-36) dropped to 11th place in the Western Conference after losing to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, Yahoo Sports‘ Jack Baer suggested that the Lakers might as well “tank for a better draft lottery position” as their playoff hopes continue to dwindle.