Lakers, after crushing loss to Clippers and more injuries, attempt to regroup

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIn losing 13 of their last 18 games, the Lakers (30-34) have in effect fallen so far behind and lost enough tiebreakers that they can’t catch up, save an effort close to winning all of their next 18. And with Kuzma to miss Wednesday’s game and up to one week with a right ankle sprain, Lonzo Ball still out, and Ingram, Chandler and Stephenson all questionable, the Lakers are as injury-stricken as they’ve been all season – which is saying something.But if the Lakers are shifting their focus ahead, they’re not yet tipping their whole hand. The team still has an open roster spot, which in past years they’ve used to call up players to see if they can contribute to next year’s squad. Walton said the organization hasn’t reached that point yet.“We need healthy bodies possibly, depending on how much longer some of these injuries are gonna go,” he said. “So whether it’s to get stuff done in practice, or whether we need a body for a game, it’s more that type of thing for now.”The Lakers reached a frustration point Monday night with Kuzma’s fourth-quarter ankle sprain, which left him to limp off the court. James and Rondo said they’ve never been on teams with this many injuries. A precautionary MRI on Tuesday confirmed Kuzma’s sprain.Lately, the most looming absence has been Ball, who has been out since a Grade 3 sprained ankle he suffered Jan. 19. Ball was on the court after practice in street clothes, shooting but not jumping – not a particularly promising sign for a player due for a medical reevaluation Thursday. Walton said that’s the most on-court work he’s seen from Ball since he got hurt. Related Articles None of these developments are liable to ease the heat on the Lakers, which has been stoked for the last few months – essentially since James was injured on Christmas. From trade rumors to playoff speculation, to viral memes of James’ defense (or lack thereof), the Lakers have been constantly in the headlines. Lately, the focus has been on Walton’s job security, which he said Monday he hasn’t paid attention to.A night after Josh Hart said he thought the Lakers were the most criticized team in the league, Walton said it doesn’t matter to him.“I’m not worried,” he said. “The Lakers are always in the media: good bad, whatever you want to look at. I don’t try to compare it against other teams as far as how the media perceives us.” EL SEGUNDO — The first day of the rest of the Lakers’ season was quiet at the team’s practice facility, as the team attempted to heal its aching bodies.LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Josh Hart went to a film session but did not practice on the court. Kyle Kuzma, who rolled his ankle during Monday night’s loss to the Clippers, received treatment. Brandon Ingram, Tyson Chandler and Lance Stephenson – all of whom missed the matchup with the Clippers – didn’t practice either.Coach Luke Walton had just eight healthy bodies to work with as the Lakers, who are realistically out of the playoff chase, tried to resume business as usual.“You have to be resilient with who you are and who we are as a group,” Walton said. “And it’s tough times right now. We can’t let that get us down. We got to continue to develop our habits and continue to work as a group and define how we handle ourselves.”center_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img