The Los Angeles Lakers wrapped up preseason on Friday and are hoping the downtime until the regular season opener let’s them compete as close to 100 percent as possible. The biggest update following practice Monday was that Lonzo Ball gave a definitive answer to his status heading into the big Oct. 19 showdown against the LA Clippers.
“I’m playing for sure,” Ball told media gathered after practice.
While it’s not necessarily a surprising revelation considering Ball was already ramping up in practice around the final preseason outing, it’s great to have confirmation that the “minor” ankle injury is in the rearview mirror.
Elsewhere, Julius Randle was forced out of the preseason finale early due to back spasms. He was on the court for “some” of practice, according to Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, but only the non-contact portions. His status remains in the air, but hopefully it becomes clearer before gameday if he’s doing more than “shell stuff” by Wednesday:
Walton confirmed that Randle didn’t do much today, just got shots up and did some 5 on 0 shell stuff.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 16, 2017
There was some additional concerning news coming out of El Segundo. Josh Hart suffered a strained left Achilles injury during practice and will undergo an MRI, according to Trudell. In the long-term, hopefully Hart is fine and this is something small that doesn’t set him back early in his rookie season. In the short-term, this isn’t ideal for the Lakers.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is suspended for the first two games of the regular season after a DUI arrest that occurred in March. Hart potentially being out diminishes the Lakers’ guard depth even further, and head coach Luke Walton hasn’t decided on a starting lineup just yet:
Walton said that Deng is “one of the options” to replace KCP for the first two games, but hasn’t made a decision. Will mix guys in.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 16, 2017
To recap: Lonzo’s promising his full Lakers debut is on the way, Randle’s not fully cleared since suffering back spasms and Hart suffered an injury during practice we should hear more about in the next 24 hours or so.