Lakers News: Walton, Ingram, Stephenson Speak About Lonzo Ball's Injury, Impact

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 19:  Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers lays on the court after an injury in the second half against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on January 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers lamented an ankle injury suffered by Lonzo Ball during Saturday's 138-134 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets, with forward Brandon Ingram saying the point guard was "absolutely" playing the best basketball of his career.

Bill Oram of The Athletic provided comments about the deflating setback from Ingram, head coach Luke Walton and guard Lance Stephenson, who helped carry Ball to the locker room.

"He knew it was something big," Stephenson said.

Ingram and Ball have been forced to step up for the Lakers with LeBron James and Rajon Rondo sidelined since Christmas Day because of injuries. L.A. had been picking up steam lately with back-to-back wins over the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder, and it led Houston by 18 at halftime.

"Right when Lonzo went down, I think that's when it all went away," Ingram said about Ball's exit in the third quarter.

The Lakers announced X-rays were negative, but the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the ankle sprain, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

Oram noted Walton is concerned about how an absence could halt Ball's recent progress.

"For Lonzo it's learning on the go," he said. "He hasn't had an offseason yet to work on his game. So he's learning while we're playing during the season and he's really done a nice job of turning a corner. We'll see where we're at, how long he's out for, and hopefully get him up and running again and playing at the level he was playing at before he got hurt."

Ball has averaged 11.1 points, 7.0 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals across 10 January appearances.

A timetable for his return likely won't be available until the Lakers receive the MRI results.

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