While the Los Angeles Lakers begin a push towards the NBA playoffs, they’ll do so without their young starting point guard in Lonzo Ball. The former No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is dealing with an ankle injury which has sidelined him since mid-January. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much in the form of a positive update on his timeline, although he’s progressing – just not on the practice court.
Ball was originally diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain, and the Lakers revealed a timeline for return of four to six weeks. Based on the timing of that news, it would put his return somewhere around early-to-mid March, which won’t leave much time for him to help the team in their push towards the postseason.
While that is a less-than-ideal timeline, the latest rumblings involving Ball’s injury don’t provide much reason for optimism either.
Lakers Provide No Update After All-Star Break
With the NBA All-Star break officially in the rearview mirror, there was some hope the Lakers would at least offer up some type of an update or timeline. That didn’t prove to be the case, and ahead of the team’s first game back against the Houston Rockets, Mike Trudell of the team’s official website reported Ball is getting treatment but hasn’t practiced.
Looking a bit deeper into the injury we find some interesting information as well on the actual severity, which could point to a longer timeline than anticipated originally. Obviously, every player responds to injury different, but based on the ankle sprain being diagnosed as Grade 3, it may take longer than the four-to-six weeks to heal.
Doctor Points to Possible Longer Timeline for Return
Dr. John Paul Elton, a foot and ankle specialist in Colorado, wrote about Ball’s injury shortly after it happened. He provided a number of interesting bits of insight, including that Grade 3 sprains feature “significant instability in the joint” and “severe stiffness,” among other things.
Beyond that, his story pointed to Grade 3 sprains usually coming with a recovery timeline of 8-12 weeks and that the reported time which the Lakers provided is often for a Grade 2 sprain.
“Recovery from a grade three ankle sprain will take 8-12 weeks. This is the type of ankle sprain that can take a high school athlete out of the game for an entire season.” Dr. Elton wrote.
On a positive note, Thursday’s game against the Rockets was just shy of the five-week mark, so if the team’s report proves true, Ball should be getting somewhat close. Once March hits we’ll be into the six-week range and the team has four games from March 1-6. That could be a timeline to monitor for Ball, but he’ll surely need to return to practice before the topic of a full return picks up steam.
Update on Lonzo Ball Injury
Following the Lakers’ victory over the Rockets Thursday, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported that Ball’s injury could push his timeline back further than the team originally stated. Per the report, the guard is dealing with a bone bruise and could keep him sidelined beyond the six-week mark.
Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball has been dealing with a bone bruise in his sprained left ankle that the team believes could extend his recovery past six weeks, according to two people familiar with Ball’s condition.
This also cites that Ball was limited while working on an antigravity treadmill last week due to the bone bruise. It’s tough news to hear, and we’ll be sure to update as anything additional comes to light.