UCLA's Lonzo Ball: Hurt left thumb no excuse for lackluster play

ByMyron Medcalf ESPN logo
Saturday, March 11, 2017

LAS VEGAS -- Steve Alford's squad avoided another loss on Friday when X-rays on UCLA star Lonzo Ball's left thumb came back negative, team spokesman Alex Timiraos told ESPN.com.

Ball injured the thumb in the first half of UCLA's 86-75 loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals at T-Mobile Arena. He said a ball hit his thumb at an awkward angle, causing pain he endured throughout the game.

"The ball came down on it wrong," Ball said.

He clutched his left thumb with his right hand multiple times throughout the game. Ball refused, however, to use the injury as an excuse for his performance. He finished 2-for-7 with 8 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

"That's not the reason that we lost," Ball said. "We lost because we didn't play right. ... It was hurting. But in a game like this, you can't make an excuse for your thumb."

Before the team announced the results of the X-rays, Alford said, "I hope so," when asked if Ball had avoided a significant injury.

It appears he has. And he's ready to move forward. The freshman standout said it was important for UCLA to forget about its loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament and prepare for the NCAA tournament.

"You gotta forget about it tonight, to be honest," Ball said. "We gotta watch some tape and just let it go. ... We just have to focus and come out strong."

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