Injuries strike two of the NBA’s stars
Last Saturday night, a pair of significant injuries took place in both the Western and Eastern conferences.
Laker’s superstar Lebron James landed awkwardly on his right ankle in a contest against the Hawks. He continued to play for a few more possessions, knocking down a three-pointer, but eventually headed towards the locker room, visibly upset. He was later diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss a majority of the remainder of the season.
The Hawks took control of the game with the Lakers now not having either of their stars available, losing 99-94. The Lakers faced the Suns in Pheonix the following night, and once again lost by a large margin, 111-94. With Anthony Davis and Lebron James unavailable for an extended period of time, Los Angelas will be tested the rest of the way and will lean on veteran leaders like Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell. The Lakers are currently the third seed in the Western Conference, with 27 games left to play. The Clippers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers are all within 2.5 games back of the Lakers and have the health advantage at this point in the season. James will aim to be back for the playoffs, possibly even sooner depending on his progress. The injury likely stifles any MVP aspirations for the four-time winner.
The same night, Charlotte’s electrifying rookie Lamelo Ball came down hard after being fouled on a contested layup attempt, holding his right wrist and shooting hand as he walked to the free-throw line. Ball’s hand was taped on the sideline, but his pain was evident. After multiple opinions, Lamelo has suffered a right wrist fracture, and will miss the remainder of the season.
The Hornets are currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, and without the front-runner for Rookie of the Year in their lineup, could easily slip out of playoff contention. The Indiana Pacers are just one game behind Charlotte and are winners of two in a row. With Gordon Hayward playing his best ball since his Utah Jazz days, he’ll be looked upon to shoulder the load, along with Terry Rozier and others.
With about 27 games remaining in the NBA season, the Rookie of the Year award conversation could start heating up. Number one overall pick Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been especially impressive as of late, averaging 27.3 points per game in his last six outings. His play to end the season may dictate who the award goes to, although most voters will probably give the edge to Ball for what he accomplished in his time pre-injury. Ball ends his season averaging a great all-around 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from deep. The efficiency and fluency that Ball plays with are not expected from a 19-year-old rookie, and certainly, his future is very bright.