Zubac started in 10 consecutive games to close out his rookie campaign and was gaining momentum heading into the offseason. That all changes with the addition of Lopez, though, as Lopez is the favorite to start and see the lion's share of minutes at center this coming season. With Timofey Mozgov headed to Brooklyn, Zubac will seemingly serve as the main backup to Lopez and have only limited fantasy value in a reserve role. Lopez only has one more year remaining on his current contract, so Zubac still has significant keeper value.
Zubac was ruled out for the season on March 31 after an MRI confirmed that he had suffered a right high-ankle sprain during the previous day's matchup against the Timberwolves. After receiving his 7-to-10 days of treatment, Zubac will be cleared to resume running. He carved out an unexpected niche with the Lakers late last season, averaging 11.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in the month of March prior to sustaining his injury. It's unclear what his role will be with the team next season -- though coach Luke Walton demonstrated faith in him after center Timofey Mozgov didn't work out as anticipated.
Zubac underwent an MRI earlier Friday, which confirmed the original diagnosis of a right high-ankle sprain, an injury the big man sustained in the first quarter of Thursday's loss to the Timberwolves. The 20-year-old will be reevaluated in two weeks once the season is over, and if the Lakers determine that Zubac is healing as expected, he should be available to suit up for the team during summer league play in the offseason. While he spent most of the first half of the season bouncing around between the NBA and D-League, Zubac seemed to establish himself as a promising long-term asset for the Lakers after the All-Star break, averaging 10.0 points, 4.5 rebound,s 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game. With Zubac now sidelined for the Lakers' final seven games and Timofey Mozgov already shut down in a coach's decision, look for Tarik Black to see increased minutes while likely entering the starting lineup at center. Zubac's absence should also create a regular spot in the rotation for Thomas Robinson the rest of the way.
Zubac (ankle) will be reevaluated Friday in Los Angeles.
Initial X-rays on Zubac's right high-ankle sprain came back negative, and while it looks like surgery isn't on the table for the rookie, there remains a distinct possibility that he'll be shut down for the Lakers final seven games of the season. Official word on that front should come after he's formally evaluated Friday, but it doesn't look promising that Black will be able to suit up for Saturday's game against the Lakers. Tarik Black provided 15 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench following Zubac's exit in the first quarter of Thursday's loss to the Timberwolves, and would be the top candidate to move into the starting five if Zubac indeed misses time.
Zubac suffered a right high ankle sprain during Thursday's matchup against the Timberwolves and will not return.
In good news for the Lakers and Zubac, preliminary X-rays on his ankle returned negative, so there appears to be no structural damage. Regardless, Zubac had been carving out a niche for himself within the Lakers' rotation, averaging 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds across 23.8 minutes per game over the past eight contests. While the injury doesn't seem too serious, there's still a possibility that Zubac's season will come to a close, as high ankle sprains can take a few weeks to heal. He should be considered questionable for Saturday's game against the Clippers until further notice, with Tarik Black likely to draw the start if Zubac misses time.
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