Fantasy Basketball Injury Analysis: Lonzo Ball

4 min read

There is a lot for fantasy GMs to unpack when a player is injured. We need to not only understand the severity of the injury, how long they might be out, but also restrictions in their play once they return. For dynasty GMs, we need to understand how this injury may affect them long term.

We are lucky to have, Dr. Rajpal Brar on board and providing injury analysis with his medical expertise. Dr. Brar originally posted his article and write-up on the awesome Lakers site, Silver Screen and Roll, and he’s given us permission to also do our own take. This video is concerning Los Angeles Lakers Point Guard Lonzo Ball and his ankle injury. Take a look.

Initial Notes

Lonzo’s injury seems like a common one for NBA players, due to the constant sudden changes in direction and constant jumping. It appears that Ball escaped a full tear with the Grade 3 sprain, so that’s definitely good news for Ball, the Lakers, and his fantasy GMs. According to Dr. Brar, it means that the point guard could return in that optimistic 4-6 week timetable.

I once heard someone say that Lonzo looks like if an artistic 12 year old tried to draw Drake, and now I can’t ever not see that.

Moving Forward

Expect Ball to be out until at least late February. Rondo has returned in time to take over the point and we know what he’s capable of. Even at his mature age, Rondo has shown to be a beast at producing assists, some boards and steals, as well as keeping his FG% healthy. If you have a need at point guard, he’s an obvious pickup in most leagues, as there aren’t any other options until Ball returns. When Ball is ready to returns, he should reclaim the starting role, but you never know with LeBron. As far as holding in your redraft leagues, he’s a hold if you have an IR spot, but if you don’t have that luxury, you can feel safe in moving on and picking up someone that can help you as the playoffs grow closer. On the other hand, if you are in a top position in your league and will need the help in counting stats, Ball can still be a smart hold.

So far, this season has been a letdown for the 2nd year guard. He’s still been able to contribute well in his usual stats, and has improved his efficiency from the field and line, but has seen drops on scoring, boards, assists, and 3s. He’s currently ranked #123 overall in standard 9 cat leagues, which has been a drop-off from his top 80 rookie season. A lot of that can be attributed to the adjustment involved with adding LeBron James to your team. If he were to get moved in a trade, as has been rumored, it could eventually mean a more clear path to running the offense. He’s also somehow shooting a staggering 41.7% from the line, so not all of the regression can be blamed on Bron.

Long Term Outlook

I have personal experience severely turning both of my ankles numerous times in my life. It’s a very painful injury that takes longer to heal whenever it happens as I’ve gotten older, which brings me to my main concern for Lonzo. Obviously, he’s a young pro athlete, just barely into his 20s, so these types of injuries combined with elite medical care will mean a relatively quick return. What’s important to note is the last point that Dr. Brar mentions, which is how unstable the ankle can remain post-injury, as well as how prone it can be to reinjuring. I can vouch for that last part. We’ve seen star players deal with major ankle issues recently in Steph Curry. It’s hard to remember a time where people were hyper-concerned with his career due to recurring ankle stuff. We all know how that turned out.

While reinjuring his ankle will be a concern, at least for the next few months, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’ll be 100% to start next season. The more pressing worry is the efficiency. He has to dramatically improve his free throw shooting, as well as move his field goal percentage closer to 50% if he has hopes of developing into the top 40 player he could become.