After showing flashes of promise, Lonzo Ball had his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers cut short due to a knee injury. He eventually underwent surgery during the offseason, which impacted his workouts and growth for a sophomore campaign.
Ball nonetheless remained committed to the weight room, and arrived for the start of training camp with a reshaped physique that earned him praise from the Lakers front office and head coach Luke Walton. Ball was eased into action but thrust into a larger role when Rajon Rondo was suspended.
He again proved to be a valuable asset to the Lakers, spearheading their defense and helping LeBron James push the pace on offense. Just as Ball was playing the best basketball of his young career, he suffered a Grade 3 sprained left ankle and bone bruise.
He’s been sidelined since sustaining the injury Jan. 19, and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. With another year cut short due to injury, Ball discussed his laser-like focus moving forward, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“I’m very, very motivated,” Ball told The Athletic. “I want to be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this summer. I don’t look at it as added pressure, because I haven’t had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I’m just happy that I’m going to be healthy.
“It’s been frustrating. This is the second year that this has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated.”
Ball was initially projected to miss four to six weeks while recovering from his sprained ankle, but the discovery of a bone bruise delayed the timeline. Upon being re-evaluated over the weekend, the Lakers said Ball was continuing to recover and would be re-evaluated again in two weeks.
Assuming the Lakers do officially rule out Ball returning, he will finish the season averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 47 games (45 starts). Ball appeared in 52 games, making 50 starts, as a rookie.