Lakers’ Lonzo Ball sits out Christmas game after suffering shoulder sprain

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball waits for play to resume during the second half of the game against the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

The night Lonzo Ball injured his shoulder against the Portland Trail Blazers, he went back into the game and later said he didn’t expect the injury to keep him out of the Lakers’ Christmas game.

It did.

“It really didn’t hurt until the next day, when I woke up it was pretty sore,” Ball said. “That’s when we got the MRI and then the results came back. So, trying to stay positive and get back as fast as I can.”

An MRI exam conducted Sunday revealed a shoulder sprain for Ball. The Lakers said he will be reevaluated in a week. For now, Ball is mostly icing the injury and waiting for it to heal.


“It’s pretty sore, but like I said it’s still a fresh injury so it should be OK in a week, hopefully,” Ball said.

In the meantime, Lakers coach Luke Walton wants Ball to stick around his teammates and stay as engaged as possible so he doesn’t miss too much time mentally.

“It’s important that as he grows as a leader he spends time with the team,” Walton said. “He’s watching practice. He’s obviously doing his rehab and he’s doing conditioning, so that when he is ready to come back and play he can hopefully still be sharp and continue to build off what he’s been doing prior to the injury.”

Monday’s game was the first one during the regular season that Ball missed because of an injury. An ankle injury caused him to miss games during the preseason, but Ball was able to return by the start of the regular season.


“Definitely was looking forward to playing,” Ball said. “I always watched the games on Christmas, I’m pretty sure a lot of people do. It’s unfortunate that I can’t play this year, but hopefully next year, another opportunity.”

Bryant gets a shot

A player named Bryant hadn’t scored any points for the Lakers since Kobe Bryant’s 60-point career-ender in April 2016.

That changed on Saturday when rookie second-round pick Thomas Bryant saw his first game action against the Portland Trail Blazers. “I was like, damn, all right,” Bryant said. “Let’s go, let’s get it.”

Walton went deeper into his bench than he normally does, and Bryant, who has been active before, had no idea his name would be called. The Lakers played a tough couple of road games and were on the second night of a back-to-back.

“I told my parents, they were the first people I told,” Bryant said. “Some of my friends. Lot of people already texted me saying ‘we saw you out there, congrats on getting out there.’ Lot of people beat me to it.”


Monday’s game marked the 19th consecutive season the Lakers played a game on Christmas. … In addition to Ball, the Lakers played without Brandon Ingram and Brook Lopez, both starters. Lopez is expected to be evaluated in two weeks after suffering a sprained ankle last week. … Walton felt that some of his players were pouting Saturday night. He said Monday that he spoke to the team about it. “I talked to the team, but stuff like that — what we talk about in there — I keep it between us,” Walton said.


Twitter: @taniaganguli

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