Since tweaking his knee against the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 13, Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard has missed six games. Ball continued playing in the overtime victory more than weeks ago, and it wasn’t until the following morning that the left knee gave him trouble.
The Lakers sent Ball for an MRI, which revealed a knee sprain. The injury was considered minor, though there was largely a lack of progress for Ball. That was until he recently began shooting on the court, which came after activity on a treadmill.
While the Lakers maintained Ball had not suffered any sort of setback, his stagnant recovery was curious. The team shed some light on the matter by revealing Ball sustained a sprained MCL, which typically calls for one to three weeks for recovery.
Ball has yet to practice, but Lakers head coach Luke Walton left open the possibility of the 20-year-old returning in the coming days, according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if within a couple days, a week, whatever it is, they say he’s ready to start practicing again,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “… We’re still training and approaching it as if it’s long-term. We’re not making any plans as if he’s coming back tomorrow.”
Including time missed due to a left shoulder sprain, the Lakers lost their first eight games without Ball. All but one of those was by double-digits.
However, the Lakers have seemingly turned a corner and adjusted to life without one of the faces of the franchise, rattling off four consecutive wins. They’ll look to extend their winning streak to five games in a Sunday matchup with the Toronto Raptors.
Even with his time missed, Ball’s 7.1 assists per game lead the Lakers, and his 7.1 rebounds are second-most on the team, trailing Julius Randle (7.2 rebounds per game) by a hair.
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