The NBA officially named Sacramento Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox as the replacement for Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball on the U.S. Team roster in the Mtn Dew Rising Stars Challenge. The game will be played Friday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. PT at Staples Center and be televised by TNT.
Entering play Wednesday night, Ball has missed the past 13 games due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. It was initially believed that Ball only suffered a minor injury in the Lakers’ overtime victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 13.
The Lakers later revealed he’d sustained the MCL sprain, and have since exercised caution in his recovery. Ball went through a practice with contact for the first time on Tuesday, but was also ruled out for the Lakers’ remaining two games before the All-Star break.
Prior to the league’s announcement, Ball confirmed he would not participate in the Rising Stars Game, and said he’s targeting a return in the Lakers’ first game back on Feb. 23.
Fox, who was selected by the Kings with the fifth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is averaging 11.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.3 points per game. Like Ball and most other rookies, Fox has struggled to find his footing early on in his career.
Though, the 20-year-old scored a season-high 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting this week. Fox joins a U.S. roster that features other talented guards in Chicago’s Kris Dunn, and Dennis Smith Jr. of the Mavericks.
Although Ball is out, the Lakers will still be represented in their home arena by Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. This year marked the second time in franchise history where the Lakers had three players named to the showcase game. Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Travis Knight previously shared the honor in 1997.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERS NATION FORUM CLUB