Lonzo Ball Won't Play for Pelicans vs. Nuggets Because of Hip Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) during an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Denver Nuggets as a result of a right hip flexor strain, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

The guard was previously listed as questionable after playing 38 minutes in Thursday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Ball's career has remained on a pretty steady path through his four seasons in the NBA and into his second with the Pelicans. He's a solid all-around contributor, but his lack of offensive efficiency has prevented him from reaching an All-Star level consistently.

The 23-year-old California native has averaged 14.2 points, 5.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 38.5 percent from the field in 38 games during the 2020-21 season.

Injuries have also slowed Ball's development at the NBA level, though. He missed 65 games across two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers because of shoulder, knee and ankle problems. After a mostly healthy first year in New Orleans, he has dealt with knee and ankle issues this season.

Eric Bledsoe figures to spend most of the time running the offense whenever the UCLA product is out. It will also open up more minutes for Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. as part of the backcourt rotation.

Ball is still an important part of the equation for the Pelicans despite his offensive shortcomings. Any type of extended absence would be a major setback given the highly competitive nature of the Western Conference.