Ankles were a popular topic for discussion after the Lakers' Game 4 victory over the Jazz. Not the ones that were figuratively broken by Kobe Bryant all night long, but the ones belonging to his teammates Trevor Ariza and Luke Walton.
Ariza stepped on the foot of Josh Powell during warm-ups, and aggravated the sprain during the game, which forced him to head to the locker room to get it re-taped. Ariza was able to come back and play, and is expected to be out there as usual when the Lakers tip-off Game 5 Monday night at Staples center.
The same cannot be said for Luke Walton.
Walton injured his ankle as well during Game 4, but his injury was a bit more serious. At the time, Walton said it “felt like the (ankle) bone sheared forward and came back,” and his diagnosis wasn't that far off. According to a statement from the Lakers' PR department:
Lakers forward Luke Walton, who suffered a sprained left ankle in Saturday night’s Game 3 at Utah, had an MRI exam this morning. Results of the test show a partial tear of the deltoid ligament.
Walton will be out indefinitely and his status will be re-evaluated in approximately one week.
Walton hasn't been playing a ton of minutes in the post-season, at least not yet -- he's averaged just 12 minutes per game through the team's first four. But when he has played, he's played fairly well, facilitating the offense and doing the little things that keep the reserve unit running efficiently, now that Odom spends most of his time with the starters.
Being without Walton is not a huge blow to the Lakers, but especially with Andrew Bynum struggling to find his game lately, the team would like to have as many weapons as possible at their disposal as they advance into the later rounds of the playoffs.