Rookie forward Brandon Ingram on Tuesday missed his second consecutive game because of tendinitis in the patellar tendon in his right knee, sitting out the Lakers' 119-108 loss to the Washington Wizards.
Although only two weeks remain in the Lakers' season, Coach Luke Walton expects Ingram to return before it ends.
"As soon as the trainers tell us he can go without pain and he can move the way he normally moves, we're gonna get him back out there," Walton said. "This is valuable time for him. There's been a lot of growth in his game, we want to get him some more of those opportunities before we get into the summer."
Ingram hadn't missed a game before this injury. He has played in 72 games, starting 33, and averaged 9.0 points and 29.3 minutes a game.
"Not only are we losing some scoring, but some defense," Walton said. "Honestly, I think he's turning into a player that other guys have confidence when he's out there."
Zu for three
In keeping with the league-wide trend of big men shooting three-pointers, Lakers center Ivica Zubac often stays after practice taking threes, growing more and more sure of the shot.
"I feel comfortable," Zubac said. "I made some in the D-league, I made some in practice. I think I'm a good shooter and I can make that shot. … If they are gonna back off I'm gonna shoot midrange jumper or three maybe. I'm still trying to make my plays in the paint."
Against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, Walton drew up a play intended to give Zubac a look from three-point range. Zubac missed both of the three-pointers he attempted that night, and Walton teased that Zubac was on probation because of it.
"He earned that opportunity by the way he shot it before the game, but when you got 0 for 2 we've gotta tighten that leash up a little bit," Walton said.
Wizards Coach Scott Brooks has some experience coaching multiple stars. He had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook early in their careers as the coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now, he has two young stars in guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.
"They understand that they need each other, and we all understand we need each other to play well," Brooks said. "… They're committed to playing winning basketball. That's some of the hardest things to do as a coach when you're coaching younger players, is getting those guys to believe winning habits are important instead of scoring points. Those guys, they've been winners all year long and leading us in practices and shoot-arounds and timeouts. They've been great, hopefully they continue."