When Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball was first sidelined with a knee injury, the hope was that it was minor and Ball would return within a week or two. That has now turned into a month and it was ultimately revealed that Lonzo suffered a sprained MCL, limiting his lateral movement.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been playing it extremely safe, not wanting to possibly further aggravate the injury. And with Ball continuing to feel pain after various actions during workouts, the Lakers have kept him out.
It was announced — or confirmed — Tuesday that Lonzo will miss the Lakers’ final two games before the All-Star break. Walton wasn’t certain of his availability to play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday.
Now, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Ball made it clear that he will also miss the showcase event and is targeting a return in the Lakers’ first game back from the All-Star break:
Lonzo Ball said if this were the playoffs, he’d be playing now in games. Ball said he will be back next Friday against Dallas in the Lakers’ first game after the break. He said he still feels a little discomfort when he pushes off the left knee on defense. His last hurdle is a full-contact, full-speed practice.
The good thing about All-Star Weekend is that it will give Ball an extra week to continue to heal and be ready for the next game. That additional time should hopefully be enough for the minor discomfort to subside.
When he does return he will be doing so with a new backcourt partner in Isaiah Thomas. So far the Lakers have kept him coming off the bench, but there are some questions about whether Lonzo and Thomas would eventually start together.
In the end, the most important thing is for Ball to get healthy and return to the court so he can continue to develop. He seemed to be turning a corner, particularly with his shooting, before this most recent injury.
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