Just this past Sunday, Spurs starting point guard, Dejounte Murray, suffered a season-ending, ACL tear. Murray was aggressively pushing the ball into the half court, trying to take advantage of a disorganized Rockets defense, until he ran into brick wall, James Harden, just feet from the basket. It was a split second occurrence that stopped the hearts of all the Spurs faithful. Murray’s freakishly long stride, at such close proximity to the rim, caused this because of the lack of stability that is associated with an excessively wide base. At a meager 170 pounds, Murray was no match for the 220 Harden, even more so in a comprised, non-athletic position.
The timeline for Murray’s return isn’t crystal clear, but the general timeframe for an ACL tear is anywhere from 9-11months, according to Dr. Selene Parekh. We’ve seen other long, slim-framed point guards like Shaun Livingston and Lonzo Ball sustain these different types of knee injuries. A greater amount of precaution may very well be taken due his unique body composition. The commonality of Livingston’s and Murray’s ACL tears were that both were attacking the rim while striding out aggresively. Sometimes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Ever since the departures of Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson and the retirement of the Manu Ginobili, there have been drastically lowered expectations for the Spurs. There may have not been a team in the NBA that experienced less roster turn around each year before those veterans departed. Head coach Gregg Poppovich likes nothing more than cerebral, selfless ball players that can thrive in his efficient system for years.
Unfortunately, even more skepticism has filled the room when talking about the Spurs potential success for this year with the recent injury news to rookie, Lonnie Walker IV. The high flying Spur has shown flashes throughout summer league and pre season. Fortunately, his meniscus tear should only keep him out 4-6 weeks. With a depleted backcourt, the Spurs are going to have to rely heavily on LaMarcus Aldridge and Demar DeRozan to score and find open opportunities for role players. The Spurs are lucky enough to re-hand the reigns back over to veteran point guard, Patty Mills. Mills has shown the ability in the past of setting up and running an offense. Another important variable for the Spurs success is Brynn Forbes. Forbes has shown the ability in the past few seasons to make shots consistently and create off the dribble for his teammates. He will need to bring more to the table than he has ever in his young career.
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How will the Lakers adjust without Lonzo Ball?
Not one, not two, but a total of three Lakers have been sidelined with impactful injuries, just within the past thirty days. First, it was four time MVP, Lebron James, just weeks after, it was veteran back-up point guard, Rajon Rondo, and now as we speak, starting point guard, Lonzo Ball. Ball’s injury was sustained moments after the second year point-guard caught a skip pass, coming from the far, right corner to the top of the key. After receiving the pass, Ball headed straight towards the rim but when cut off by Houston Rockets wing, James Ennis, his ankle gave out as he gingerly fell onto the court. Ball had to exit the game for its entirety and was unable to walk off the court under his own power.
Quite frankly this injury comes at an inopportune time for both parties- the Lakers and Ball. Not only will Ball’s inherited gifts such as his length, size, and athleticism be missed, but also the incessant improvements to his outside shooting and defense that have shown through, recently. From an X’s and O’s adjustment standpoint, look for the Lakers to utilize Brandon Ingram more as a primarily ball handler in the starting lineup. His length and adept ball-handling skills advertise him as a viable candidate to get the ball up and the down court in an efficient manner. Ingram is also a worthy interim-replacement because he sticks to the script when it comes to getting his team into their offensive sets. In other words, his game doesn’t embody many selfish tendencies which makes it easier for other players to involve themselves in the offense. That being said, even though Ingram may be their best option, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the main approach will be to move the ball via competent passing. Ingram isn’t equipped with nearly as much speed in the open court like Lonzo; therefore, it is more feasible to put emphasis on passing as the main mode for movement because the ball always outruns humans.
In regards to the future, news has already broken out that the severity of the sprain is viewed as a grade 3. The protocol for Ball realistically will be wearing an ankle brace for 2-3 weeks. It is important the Laker’s training staff takes the ultimate amount of precaution, with Ball being regarded as a piece of the posterity for this this team. Ball has the chance of suiting up to play in about 6 weeks. Lakers fans are going to have to hold tight for a little while to see their young stud suited up.