Lonzo Ball says he'll play against Pacers despite sprained left ankle

ByOhm Youngmisuk ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

DENVER --Los Angeles Lakerspoint guardLonzo Ball sprained his left ankle in a 117-85 loss to the Denver Nuggets but said he will be ready to play against Indiana on Thursday.

X-rays on Ball's ankle were negative, and he is considered day-to-day.

Ball injured the ankle late in the second quarter and started the second half, before being removed with 9 minutes, 36 seconds left in the third quarter. Coach Luke Walton held him out for the remainder of the game.

"I mean, I wanted to play," Ball said. "Coaching staff thought it was better for me to take a rest, so that's what I did. ... Gave it a go, and I guess I wasn't moving good enough for them, so they just pulled me."

Asked about his status for the Lakers' next game, Ball said, "I'm playing Thursday, yeah."

Ball sprained his ankle as he was backpedaling and landed on a Nuggets player who was on the floor. Ball, who said he tweaked the same spot on his left ankle that he had injured earlier in the season, immediately banged his fist on the floor in frustration.

Ball left the game and went to the locker room with 1:44 left in the second quarter. He started the third, but after he missed a 3-pointer, grabbed a rebound and assistedBrandon Ingram on a dunk, Walton said he felt it was better to hold Ball out.

"He sprained his left ankle pretty good," Walton said. "But he wanted to give it a go. But the way he was moving out there, it just didn't feel right to leave him out on the court, so we got him out quickly."

The Lakers are already without veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, who is making his way back from surgery to repair a fractured third metacarpal on his right shooting hand. Rondo was recently cleared to participate in non-contact drills.

"Just the way that we play, with the pace that we play, it's just tough to lose any one of our point guards, let alone not having both of them," Lakers star LeBron James said. "Zo turned his ankle on just a weird play. I think it was [Denver's Monte Morris] who was on the ground. [Ball] didn't see him, stepped on his foot, rolled his ankle pretty good. Zo was playing some good ball up until that moment. It just hurt our team."

Ball finished with seven points, five rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes. In the three games before the loss at Denver, Ball averaged 11 points, nine rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field.

The Lakers have one day off before playing three home games in four days, with a back-to-back against the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks followed by Sunday's game against the Phoenix Suns.

"It hurts," Walton said of being without his two top point guards the majority of the second half against Denver. "We have other guys that we trust -- Brandon, LeBron that can play that for us -- but they do other things for us, too. So it's not ideal, but we'll get a better feel for what we're looking at probably after this flight and into tomorrow morning with Zo."

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