Lonzo Ball of the L.A. Lakers is going to remain sidelined as he continues to recover from his ankle injury. The announcement came last week that he was going to be reevaluated on a week-by-week basis. His last evaluation came on Saturday, March 9, when it was determined that he should remain out for the rest of the season.
The 21-year old guard sprained his ankle in a game on January 19 and was expected to be out for 4–6 weeks. However, he was later diagnosed with a bone bruise, which is making his rehabilitation take even longer.
What’s a bone bruise?
While less severe than a bone fracture, a bone bruise is still a traumatic injury. It’s much like it sounds—a bruise on the bone. Much like a bruise you see on your skin when you bump into something, a bone bruise occurs when the bone is injured to the point that the small blood vessels are damaged. This causes blood and fluid to leak into the tissues and blood vessels surrounding the bone.
Bone bruises are actually relatively common, even if the term isn’t. They can’t be seen on an x-ray, so they have only been recently able to diagnose with the increased access to and use of MRI technology. Twisting injuries that result in sprains (like what happened to Ball) are a common way for people to get bone bruises. You can get bone bruises the same ways you get other injuries, including by playing sports, falling from a height, not wearing a seatbelt, or getting into a car accident.
How does a bone bruise heal?
Most bone bruises take a few months to heal. The larger the bruise, the longer the healing time. People with bone bruises need to limit their physical activity and ice the area several times a day. Some people wear a brace to limit the mobility of the injury, but a cast isn’t necessary.
Some doctors will recommend a change in diet as part of the bone bruise healing process. Eating a diet that’s full of vitamin D, calcium, and protein can help speed up the healing process by giving your body the nutrients it needs to heal the injury. Smoking and certain medications can make healing take longer.
How is Ball’s injury impacting the Lakers?
The Lakers are exercising caution when it comes to overplaying their injured players at this point in the season, possibly because they’re all but out of the playoffs.
Injuries have plagued the Lakers this season. They’ve gone 5–14 since Ball’s injury. Lebron James has been put on a minutes restriction and won’t be playing back-to-backs, following a groin injury. Kyle Kuzma is also healing from an ankle injury and is being closely watched. Brandon Ingram is out for the season with a blood clot in his right shoulder.
We’re rooting for all the injured Lakers players to take their time healing, so they can stay safe and have a better season next year.