Ball hasn’t played since January 19 when he injured his ankle driving to the basket. He feared it was broken at first, but it turned out to be a Grade 3 sprain, which involves a torn ligament. He was given a four- to six-week prognosis to return, but a bone bruise in the ankle is keeping him out longer.
“It’s just the situation I’m in right now,” Ball said of the Lakers’ decision to end his season early. “So I have no problem with it.”
Ball, who saw his rookie season cut short because of a knee injury, is still traveling with the team and is looking forward to an opportunity to train this summer, which he couldn’t do last offseason. He said he had finally started playing the way he hopes to about five games before hurting his ankle.
There’s more news from Los Angeles:
- The blood clot issue that forced the Lakers to shut down Brandon Ingram is affecting his trade value, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. L.A. offered Ingram to the Pelicans last month as the centerpiece of an Anthony Davis deal, but Windhorst doubts that New Orleans would be as interested in Ingram now, even if doctors were to find that he has a low chance for the blood clots to recur. Ingram’s status is also complicated because he’s eligible for a contract extension this summer, and Windhorst doesn’t believe any team could get insurance to cover future blood clot issues.
- LeBron James is still “fully committed” to the Lakers despite a rocky first season in L.A. and the uncertainty of whether the team can land another star or two, Windhorst adds in the same story. James told Michael Lee of the Athletic that he believes the Lakers will return to the playoffs during his time there and he has given no thought to shutting down this season. “I live being a professional,” James said. “I live playing every game like it’s my last, no matter what’s going on. You finish up strong. That’s just who I am.”
- Sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe that the Davis trade talks “sapped morale” for some players. He adds that team president Magic Johnson’s lecture after the deadline about treating players “like babies” had the same effect.