The Los Angeles Lakers have won 12 of their last 16 games and are rolling along without Lonzo Ball, but the rookie point guard is inching nearer to returning from the MCL sprain he suffered in the team’s mid-January win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Ball has missed the Lakers’ last 12 games, and will miss a 13th when the team takes on the Mavericks again Saturday night. Earlier this week, Lakers head coach Luke Walton outlined the steps Ball was taking to return to the lineup, including getting treatment every morning before going through a regimen of drills with assistant coach Miles Simon.
According to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Ball is progressing in his ability to do those drills, and only has to check off a few more boxes in his rehab before he can start practicing with his teammates again:
Lonzo Ball has progressed to doing drills at full speed and hasn’t had any set backs. Next step is to do drills with some contact from asst. coach Miles Simon. After that, practice w/rest of team.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 10, 2018
Walton previously said that he wants Ball to go through a full practice with the Lakers before he gets back into the lineup full-time, so it appears that if he can manage contact drills with Simon he’ll be one step closer to doing so.
After the Lakers take on Dallas on Saturday, the team has until Wednesday before playing their next game. Meaning, Ball will have a few chances to go through drills and potentially practice before getting his next chance to make a return to game action.
If Ball misses the Lakers’ game on Wednesday, it appears unlikely he’d play on the second leg of their back-to-back Thursday, which could put his appearance in the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles in jeoparady.
If Ball sits out All-Star Weekend, then he wouldn’t have a chance to play until the Lakers begin their schedule again on Friday, Feb. 23.
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