The Los Angeles Lakers defense has taken a notable hit since second-year guard Lonzo Ball went down with an ankle sprain and bone bruise against the Rockets on January 19. It's been 14 games as of Thursday, and it looks like the count will continue, leaving the defense without a crucial piece during the stretch run.
Per Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell, Ball still needs more time before returning to the court, stretching beyond the initial projection of a 4-6 week window:
The Lakers medical staff has determined that while Lonzo Ball continues to make progress towards a return to play, he needs more healing/recovery time due to a bone bruise related to the ankle sprain suffered on Jan. 19. He’s set to be reevaluated by team docs in about a week.
Ball had been averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 30.3 minutes through 47 games. The Lakers selected the 21-year-old No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.