In his brief stint with the New Orleans Pelicans, Lonzo Ball seems to be taking a step forward on the court. His third season in the NBA, however, continues to be hampered by injuries.
After leaving Monday’s game with an ankle injury and cramps in both calves and exiting Friday’s game with a right adductor strain, Ball has been officially ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets because of the groin injury, the team announced.
According to ESPN’s Andrew Lopez, Ball initially suffered the injury in a Nov. 2 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played through the injury but turned the ball over a season-high five times on Monday. That malady may also have contributed to his ankle issues.
The groin injury became bad enough this week that Ball was listed as probable on the team’s injury report for Friday’s game. He played just over 22 minutes in that game before being lifted in the third quarter; team doctors wrapped his legs up as a precaution.
The Pelicans have not announced how much time Ball might miss, but the fact that he’s been able to play through the injury indicates he may not be on the shelf for long.
New Orleans has struggled to a 1-7 start without No. 1 pick Zion Williamson but have decent backcourt depth without Ball. Jrue Holiday can play either backcourt position, and youngsters Frank Jackson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker can also handle the ball.
Ball’s injuries slow a promising season
With the standard caveat that he’s only played in eight games this season, Ball seemed to be shining now that he’s left the L.A. spotlight.
Ball has seen a modest uptick in scoring (11.5 ppg) due to the best shooting numbers of his career: 36.7 percent from three and a 52.4 percent effective field goal percentage. The advanced numbers look better too with a career-best 14.8 PER and positive contributions on both sides of the ball, per FiveThirtyEight’s new RAPTOR metric.
Especially given the team’s slow start, the Pelicans should be making sure Ball can get back to full health before continuing his on-court development. At only 22 years old, he has plenty of time to fulfill his potential if he can maintain his health.
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