Los Angeles Lakers rookie center Moritz Wagner left Tuesday’s NBA summer league game against the New York Knicks at halftime with a left ankle sprain and left knee strain.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, watching the game courtside, came to the bench to take Wagner to the locker room late in the first quarter after the Lakers’ first-round pick (No. 25 overall) rolled his ankle. After getting the ankle retaped, Wagner returned in the second quarter, before being ruled out at halftime.
“He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow,” Lakers summer league coach Miles Simon said after his team’s 109-92 win.
Wagner, who entered Tuesday’s game averaging 13.6 points and 9.2 rebounds between five summer appearances in Sacramento and Las Vegas, finished with seven points, two rebounds and two steals in his nine minutes of action against the Knicks.
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Between the draft on June 21 and the start of free agency on July 1, Los Angeles underwent a massive change. The team landed LeBron James, thus going from a rebuilding team to one with title aspirations in 2018-19.
Whereas Wagner’s development would’ve been a focus for the Lakers pre-LeBron, the 21-year-old German fell down the team’s list of priorities. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if Los Angeles ultimately looked to trade Wagner to help land a proven veteran or two to fill out the roster.
An injury to Wagner is less than ideal, but the Lakers’ concerns extend far beyond the health of their first-round draft pick.
Wagner played just nine minutes prior to the injury, but had a solid stat line going with seven points (3-5 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 1-2 FT), two rebounds and two steals. The fact that he hurt both his knee and ankle is especially encouraging, though the Lakers haven’t provided anything concrete regarding the severity of either one.