LAS VEGAS — The Los Angeles Lakers are set to play in the Las Vegas Summer League championship game, but they could be without their conductor. Lonzo Ball suffered a calf strain during the Lakers’ win over the Dallas Mavericks Sunday afternoon and was sidelined through most of the second half.
Lakers summer league head coach Jud Buechler said he had “no idea” whether Ball would be able to play Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers, but the training staff will be working on Lonzo’s soreness until a decision is made.
“He’s going to get treatment tonight, treatment in the morning, and we’ll find out probably tomorrow after our breakfast meeting if he’ll be able to go,” Buechler said.
It makes some sense for the Lakers to shut Ball down after a very successful run in Las Vegas, but Buechler noted of how tricky it is when young players want to get on the floor to play. That’s only elevated with a championship on the line.
“His health is number one,” Buechler said. “It’s a tricky balance because I know he wants to play, he wants to be out there, but he’s a major asset for us. We’ll let the medical staff and management decide if he can play, and if he can play how many minutes, we don’t know. But I know he wants to be out there. “
Ball missed the Lakers’ game against the Sacramento Kings due to a nagging groin strain, but now it’s his calf that’s bothering him for the first time. Lonzo noted his calf was still tight following the win, but hopes he’ll be able to help lead the Lakers in the final game of summer league.
“It was just being cautious,” Ball said of his night ending early. “I wanted to get back out there, but the training staff took care of me. I’ll be with them tonight, tomorrow and hopefully I can be out there tomorrow. “
Lonzo still racked up 16 points and 10 assists despite being shut down early, and his importance to the team was obvious as the Mavericks made a huge charge once Ball was taken out of the game.
From the sounds of things the Lakers should have a good idea about Ball’s status early in the day, but could make him a game-time decision with such a late game and plenty of time to continue working on any tightness he’s feeling in his calf.