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Ball was immediately carried off the court by teammates and reportedly had to be taken for X-rays in a wheelchair. The Lakers gave a preliminary diagnosis of a sprained ankle, then transferred the 21-year-old to a local hospital because Houston’s X-ray machine was broken.
That diagnosis was backed up when X-rays revealed no fractures, though it’s still unknown how many games Ball will have to miss. The Lakers will likely need Ball to undergo an MRI to reveal the extent of the damage to his ligaments.
Assuming Ball has to miss time, it would interrupt one of the stronger stretches of the young point guard’s career. He had been averaging 16.7 points, 8.0 assists and 7.7 rebounds in his last three games entering Saturday, and looked on his way to another strong game with eight points and 11 assists before his injury in the third quarter.
Ball entered Saturday averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game as he tries to solidify himself as a key building block in Los Angeles.
Losing Ball would obviously be dreadful news for a Lakers team trying to tread water as it awaits the return of LeBron James, who has been out since Christmas with a groin injury.
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