Clinging on for dear life to the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoff picture, the Los Angeles Clippers have taken a hit on the injury front. Shooting guard Avery Bradley will miss the rest of the regular season after undergoing successful surgery to repair adductor and rectus abdominis muscles. The injury is commonly known as a sports hernia.
According to Fantasy Doctors injury expert Dr. Selene Parekh, the road to recovery won’t be swift. Bradley could miss three to six months depending on the rehabilitation. If that’s the case, it ends any chances of Bradley returning for a potential postseason run.
Bradley is widely considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He’s consistently dominated that part of his game since coming into the league in 2010. It’s exactly why he earned a generous four-year $32M contract from the Detroit Pistons last offseason. Bradley appeared in just 40 games before getting shipped to Los Angeles in the blockbuster Blake Griffin trade.
Injuries have limited Bradley’s chances with his new team. In just six appearances, he’s averaged 9.2 points per game, shooting 47% percent from the floor but has yet to see the court since February 14th.
Despite their struggles this season, the Clippers are ranked 15th in defensive efficiency. That won’t get any better heading into the postseason, however. Assuming Doc Rivers and company can hold on to a playoff berth, they’ll likely be matched up with either Golden State or Houston in the first round. Defending the likes of Stephen Curry or James Harden without Bradley is a nightmare in itself.
From a fantasy perspective, Bradley has been a liability since arriving in Los Angeles. This is a perfect time to start Lou Williams if you haven’t already. His career season should only continue with the increased playing time. If you’re looking for a cheap in-house replacement, rookie Sindarius Thornwell could provide that option. The South Carolina product averages just 3.5 points per game but will continue to earn a larger role. Bradley will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning the Clippers will continue to push Thornwell’s development this season.
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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.
How bad is the Lonzo Ball ankle injury?
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball suffered a left ankle inversion sprain in yesterday’s game against Houston. He was not able to bear weight on the ankle and had to be carried off the court. He underwent an MRI, which revealed a grade 3 ankle sprain. This means a complete tear of the lateral ankle ligaments. He will be treated in a walking boot for 2 to 3 weeks, followed by an ankle brace.
A realistic return to play after this injury is about 6 weeks although it could be even longer. Surgery is rarely required but may be necessary in the future if he develops permanent ankle instability.
Until Rajon Rondo returns, the Lakers will likely rely on Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart to cover the point guard position.