Lonzo Ball’s first preseason with the Los Angeles Lakers may have already come to an end with just two games. Ball suffered an ankle injury during the Lakers’ first of two losses to the Denver Nuggets, and he’s missed two games since then. Now, the Lakers are sounding more and more open to shutting him down for the rest of preseason if he’s not back to 100 percent.
Ball was ruled out early Sunday before the Lakers’ game against the Sacramento Kings in Las Vegas, and head coach Luke Walton elaborated on Lonzo’s status before tip-off.
“No setback, he tried getting after it a little bit in that next practice we had and was limping around a lot, so it was kinda one of those things that we let him finish up the 5-on-0 stuff on that. The next day when it was sore, he tried to shoot again before practice and we just decided to shut him down until he gets better,” Walton told media gathered before the game.
The Lakers have two preseason games next week, with their regular season opener just under two weeks away on Oct. 19. Letting Ball sit out the last two games would give him a huge stretch to get back to 100 percent before the real games begin.
On the other hand, Ball and the Lakers haven’t look good through exhibition play, and could use all of the extra reps they can get with their starting point guard running the show. Walton didn’t sound like someone eager to rush Lonzo back onto the floor, though.
“I assume he will be back by then [the regular season]. If he’s not ready to play basketball and really cut and move and do everything that you need that ankle you need it to do for you, we are not going to play him,” Walton said, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
It would certainly be a disappointing way for the first stretch of actual hoops with Lonzo in a Lakers jersey to end, but ultimately it’s just preseason.
(Has horrible flashback of saying that exact phrase during the Dwightmare)
No, but really... it’s just preseason. If shutting Lonzo down is the answer, so be it. Long-term, letting Ball get a concentrated stretch of time off of his ankle might be best to make sure he doesn’t have to limp into the regular season, or causes further injury by playing on a bum wheel for two meaningless games.