LOS ANGELES — Lonzo Ball will miss the remainder of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ fading season, sources confirmed to ESPN, joining teammate Brandon Ingram on the sideline for the rest of the team’s disappointing campaign.
Sources said Ball has been shut down as he continues to make his way back from a Grade 3 ankle sprain and bone bruise first suffered Jan. 19.
The second-year point guard met again with team doctors Saturday. In a statement issued after the team’s 120-107 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, the Lakers would say only that Ball is making “good progress” in his recovery and will be re-evaluated again in two weeks. The Lakers (30-36) have a month left to play in the regular season and sit seven games out of a playoff spot.
Ingram has been diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis in his ailing right arm. A source said Ingram hopes to know more about his condition Monday. Coach Luke Walton was tight-lipped Saturday on any further details, other than to say the third-year forward is out for the season.
Ingram had missed the past two games after Walton said he had difficulty raising his arm without pain.
Further tests revealed deep venous thrombosis, a condition caused by a blood clot, frequently accompanied by swelling and pain in a limb. It usually occurs in legs, but it can happen in the upper body, too.
Ingram was playing the best basketball of his career prior to the condition. The Duke product averaged a career-best 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season, but he had thrived since the All-Star break, averaging 27.8 points and 57 percent shooting in six games.
“When it rains it pours,” guard Rajon Rondo said about Ingram’s season-ending condition and all that the Lakers have endured with injuries this season.
According to Second Spectrum data, Ingram averaged 1.15 points per direct isolation play since Jan. 28, when the Anthony Davis trade demand put his future with the Lakers into question. That figure is tied for third-most behind Kawhi Leonard and Zach LaVine in the NBA over that span.
Walton would not go into further detail about Ingram’s condition.
“We’ve released what he’s got going on, but I’m not going to get into all the details,” Walton said. “I’m just finding out a lot of it myself. All I’m going to say on him right now is that he’s out for the rest of the season.”
Prominent athletes such as Chris Bosh and Serena Williams have been affected by blood clots in recent years. Bosh had to retire due to blood clotting issues.
Luke Walton announces that Brandon Ingram is out for the rest of the season, but doesn’t want to answer any questions about the topic.
Ball recently had been seen doing some shooting without jumping and dribbling exercises on the court. He suffered the Grade 3 sprain at Houston on Jan. 19, then he had a bone bruise that slowed his recovery.
The Lakers hope that Ball, 21, will be able to heal fully and have time to work on his game this offseason. Last summer, Ball stayed off an injured knee to let it heal, only to have to undergo surgery later to repair a torn meniscus and not be able to use the offseason to work on his game.
“From my eye not being a doctor, he’s not quite ready,” Walton said before Ball was shut down.
With the Lakers’ season fading as they fall further out of playoff contention, the organization will play it safe with its young prospects. Kyle Kuzma also missed his second consecutive game Saturday night after rolling his ankle last week. And Josh Hart continues to play despite a knee injury that has been ailing him for a few months.
Hart said nothing has helped the tendinitis in his knee but that he wants to avoid joining Ball and Ingram on the sideline for the remainder of the season.
“I don’t want to give up on this team,” Hart said when asked if being shut down might be a consideration. “I’m going to play as hard as I can for however long I can. Obviously at the end of the day, I got to make sure I don’t make the damage worse. But I want to go out there and compete and play every game as best as I can.”
The Lakers went 15-8 when LeBron James, Ingram and Ball all played this season. However, the team is just 15-28 (including Saturday’s loss to Boston) when at least one did not play, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The trio has not been on the court together since Christmas Day.
The Athletic first reported Ball would be shut down after his latest medical evaluation Saturday.