Ariza Probable, Walton Questionable for Game 5

What was it about L.A.’s small forwards and ankle injuries in Utah?

Let’s take a look:

Starter Trevor Ariza: Prior to L.A.’s 108-94 Game 4 victory in Salt Lake City on Saturday evening, Ariza tweaked his right ankle by stepping on Josh Powell’s foot, and aggravated the injury during the first quarter. That didn’t prevent him, however, from playing 27 minutes and coming up with a key steal and three-pointer in the fourth quarter. He finished with five points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Status: Ariza is listed as probable for Monday’s game and expected to start.

Sub Luke Walton: During a third quarter run in which Walton played a crucial role, he jammed his ankle – spraining it without rolling it – and missed most of the rest of the ball game. Nonetheless, he contributed markedly with nine points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in only 18 minutes.
Status: Walton is listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision.

After Sunday’s practice, Phil Jackson confirmed that Ariza is the more likely Laker to play, but didn’t rule anything out. Fortunately for Jackson, he can slide Sasha Vujacic, Kobe Bryant or Lamar Odom over to the wing, and might activate Adam Morrison should Ariza or Walton not be able to go. Clearly, clinching their series against the Jazz is paramount for a team that would like not only to allow its small forwards to rehabilitate, but get some needed rest for Pau Gasol and additional practice time for Andrew Bynum.

Post Practice Video: Sunday
To watch Jackson’s post-practice comments, along with those of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, CLICK HERE.