(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)

Ingram Expected to Return for OKC

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

The Lakers will likely get one of their two No. 2 overall picks back for Wednesday’s game in Oklahoma City.

Brandon Ingram (mild left ankle sprain) was able to go through Tuesday’s practice, while Lonzo Ball (minor left knee sprain) was not, which suggests that Ingram will go and Ball will not.

After doing some sprinting and cutting on the ankle, Ingram said he was “confident” he’ll return to the line up after both he and Ball missed Monday’s loss to Memphis, a major contributing factor in the team’s 4-game winning streak being snapped.

Luke Walton said Ingram looked pretty good in practice, and while he expects him to be in the starting line up, will wait to confirm it based on how Ingram feels on game day. In the four games prior to Dallas, in which he played only 14 minutes, Ingram was averaging 20.8 points, 4.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds on 60.0 percent shooting from the field and 63.6 percent from three.

Ball, on the other hand, sat and watched most of practice, his knee still sore from a tweak he suffered while scoring on Dennis Smith Jr. in the post in overtime of Saturday’s win in Dallas.

“It kind of went away after a play, so I thought I was cool,” said Ball after the Memphis loss. “Went throughout the day, I thought I was fine. Then I woke up the next morning and I could barely walk. I called (head athletic trainer) Marco (Nunez) and we got the MRI. Thankfully it is just a sprained knee. I should be back soon.”

The Lakers are 0-7 when Ball doesn’t play, including six games missed due to a sprained left shoulder, and 15-21 when he does. That includes narrow OT losses to Golden State (twice) and the Knicks, close calls against Portland and the Clippers, meaning L.A. “coulda/woulda/shoulda” been right around .500 with Ball starting if a few bounces went their way.

They’re clearly a much different team when he doesn’t play, which says a lot for a 20-year-old rookie playing the NBA’s hardest – and deepest – position.

“I know my body the best, so as long as I can run, that is pretty much all I need,” Ball added. “So as soon as I can run and the swelling goes down a little bit, then I should be ready to go.”

The Lakers hope that’s sooner than later, but will of course be careful not to rush him back in hopes of preventing any lingering issues.

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