Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball will have a precautionary MRI on his left knee after failing to complete the game against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Ball bumped knees with Dirk Nowitzki and started to hobble in the third quarter before he exited the game to the bench with his knee wrapped up. It is notably the same knee that suffered a sprained MCL, which saw the 20-year-old miss 15 games for the Lakers at the start of the year.
Despite his absence, the Lakers were able to win 103-93 at the Staples Center with Ball leaving the game with 8 points from 3-of-7 shooting, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in the 24 minutes that he featured in. The rookie is averaging 10.2 points, 7.3 assists and 7 rebounds per game this regular season.
The problem was later diagnosed as a knee contusion but according to Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, the injury seems minor and Ball will have a precautionary MRI on Thursday “just to be safe.”
Ball quelled fears as well by stating the injury was like a dead leg and that he has experienced it before: “I think it’s just a bruise to the back of my knee and I should be OK,” he said.
It comes as a big relief for the Lakers especially after it was announced on Wednesday afternoon that fellow point guard Isaiah Thomas will be undergoing arthroscopic surgery to his right hip on Thursday.
Thomas missed the final two games of the 16-time champions’ two-game road trip and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with the Lakers failing to reach the NBA playoffs.
Having already sat out for eight months after choosing not to undergo surgery for a torn labrum, Thomas’ hip issues may lead to him not having a Lakers future with the franchise looking to pursue the signings of LeBron James and Paul George in the summer according to ESPN.
The ESPN report adds that should the Lakers fail to recruit the duo, Thomas, who will be a free agent himself this year, is likely to only receive a one-year deal. Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Lakers head coach Luke Walton claims the 29-year-old is a good fit with his team and has not complained about not being a starter.
“The team’s agenda always came first, and he [Thomas] never complained about it once,” Walton said on Wednesday. “… Him and Julius [Randle] had a nice connection going. I loved the banter between him and [Kyle Kuzma] out there on the floor. He was great. You go down the line, he affected all the guys that played minutes for us, the young guys.”
Meanwhile, Brandom Ingram returned to action against the Mavericks after missing 12 games with a groin injury. Like Walton, Ingram also spoke about Thomas being a good leader for the young Lakers side.
“He has been a really good leader for us,” Ingram explained. “He has kind of been our vocal guy going into every single game, every single day, giving us pieces of advice how to be better.”