Luke Walton is out indefinitely because of a partially torn ligament in his left ankle, an injury that sometimes takes several weeks to fully heal, though the Lakers reserve forward said he planned to return sooner than that.
Walton was hurt after stopping to pivot on a third-quarter play Saturday in Game 4 against the Utah Jazz. An MRI exam Monday morning showed the extent of the damage to Walton's deltoid ligament.
Walton said he would "absolutely" be back for the next round of the playoffs, though he won't be reevaluated for another week and probably will miss at least the first game of the Western Conference semifinals.
"I stopped to make a pivot and . . . the bone kind of shifted out and came back," Walton said.
"They said when that happened, it tore a part of my ligament. Hopefully, Portland and Houston go seven [games], I'll get a couple more extra days, and I'll be back for the second round."
Houston leads Portland, 3-1, in the best-of-seven series that will determine the Lakers' next opponent. Game 5 is tonight at Portland.
Walton said he had a "dull, throbbing pain" on the inside of his foot that turned sharp when he tried to push off the foot. He had his best effort of the first round in Game 4, collecting nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
"He was instrumental, I thought, in helping us win," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.
Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom will spend more time at small forward to account for Walton's minutes, Jackson said. Adam Morrison was activated to fill out the Lakers' 12-man roster Monday for Game 5.
Careful out there
It turns out that Trevor Ariza suffered a sprained right ankle after landing awkwardly from a chest bump by teammate Josh Powell before Game 4.
Ariza had only five points in Game 4 while being slowed by the ankle most of the game. He looked better in Game 5, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Next time you want to use the phrase "sky hook," you better get permission. Lakers special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has trademarked the words that helped define his career.
"My legacy is part of the game. I might as well do something with it, so I put my little trademark on it," Abdul-Jabbar said.
Abdul-Jabbar, who was wearing a "sky hook" T-shirt before Monday's game against Utah, said he hoped to use proceeds from "sky hook" apparel sales to help fund a new venture that involved fundraising for grade schools and high schools.