The New Orleans Pelicans are expecting point guard Lonzo Ball to return from a hip injury in the coming days, according to team executive David Griffin.
Ball has been out of the lineup since April 9. The guard is averaging 14.5 points, 5.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game this year. His impending return will likely mean a minutes reduction for Kira Lewis Jr.
In four games without Ball, the Pelicans have gone 3-1 and improved their record to 25-30 overall.
Unfortunately, that still leaves the club 5.5 games back of the Dallas Mavericks for first place in the Southwest Division and two games back of the San Antonio Spurs for the final spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament.
Ball should be able to make an immediate impact if he's fully healthy—especially with a few crucial games coming up.
Before the end of April, the Pelicans will face the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Spurs. With just 17 games left before the end of the regular season, New Orleans' margin for error is as small as it's been all year.
Having Ball back in the lineup should make things easier, but not by much. This is still a Pelicans team that can't afford to slip up if it's going to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018.