Just as LeBron James nears return, Lakers lose Lonzo Ball to ankle sprain for 4-6 weeks

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Jack Baer
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Lonzo Ball will miss 4-6 weeks with a Grade 3 left ankle sprain suffered during the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

The injury occurred during a collision with Rockets forward James Ennis. Ball was immediately carried off the court by teammates, then taken to a local hospital where X-rays revealed no fractures. After more examination, Ball was diagnosed with a severe sprain one day later.

This time away interrupts one of the stronger stretches of the young point guard’s career, having averaged 16.7 points, 8.0 assists and 7.7 rebounds in his last three games entering Saturday. He looked on his way to another strong game with eight points and 11 assists before his injury in the third quarter.

Losing their point guard is obviously bad news for Lakers, but it’s made all the more bitter by the fact that the Lakers were on the verge of regaining full strength with LeBron James nearing a return from a groin injury.

James has been out since Christmas, but was cleared to return to practice this week. Ball had been playing admirably to fill in for James, but the team still only went 5-8 in its superstar’s absence.

Even if the Lakers get James back immediately, they’ll still be facing a tough stretch of games without Ball. In the next four weeks (i.e. the minimum time Ball will miss), the Lakers have games scheduled against the Warriors (twice), the Sixers (twice), the Celtics and the Pacers, with a game against the Rockets also on the docket just a few games after.

Just as they were about to get LeBron James back, the Lakers will miss Lonzo Ball for at least a month. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Just as they were about to get LeBron James back, the Lakers will miss Lonzo Ball for at least a month. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

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