The Los Angeles Lakers have yet to have their full complement of players during preseason, primarily because of the team’s cautious handling of Lonzo Ball, but also due to Rajon Rondo and LeBron James taking turns to sit out for rest.
James’ turn came Saturday night against the Clippers, while Ball was held out from another contest. However, their returns could come at the same time. “He’s close,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said of Ball taking the court.
“And again, it’s just us playing it safe right now. We have [Sunday] off, so it’s a nice two-day rest where he can just get treatment. Then we have two days of solid practice before the next game, so it just felt like the right thing to do. He’s getting real close, though.”
The Lakers will practice Monday and Tuesday before traveling to Las Vegas for a matchup with the Golden State Warriors. “Most likely Wednesday,” Walton guessed on when Ball and James would at last share the court together.
“That’s one of the things I still need to see that we haven’t had. What the lineups look like when both of those guys are playing. I’m excited and hopeful. But again, we’re going to take it day-by-day. If there are any setbacks or whatnot, we won’t rush it. But I would expect Wednesday to happen.”
If not Wednesday, the Lakers would only have one remaining preseason game for Ball to use in an attempt to shake off any rust. Ball has been out of live-game action for five months while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Although Ball has been limited to practices and scrimmages, he’s said to be fully healthy and has impressed the likes of Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, among others.
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