The Los Angeles Lakers are once again waiting to for Lonzo Ball to make a triumphant return, this time the rookie point guard dealing with a sprained knee. Ball has missed four games in a row as he recovers, and the latest update from head coach Luke Walton isn’t exactly promising.
The Lakers face the Boston Celtics on Tuesday before they embark on another long road trip, leaving Los Angeles for a five-game excursion. Ball will travel with the Lakers, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready to suit up once the games start rolling.
Walton spoke with media Saturday, indicating that Ball had started treadmill work but has yet to go through practice, or the on-court agility drills to even be permitted to practice, so the road back may be still be further down the road than anticipated.
The Lakers, who had previously gone 0-8 without Ball, are now on a two-game winning streak without him. Adding him back into the equation is key before hitting a road trip that has the Lakers out of California until they wrap thinks up in Oklahoma City on Feb. 4., but Walton doesn’t anticipate that return is going to be rushed, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
“He did more yesterday than the day before and he says he feels good today but he is still out. … I get the call from the training staff telling me whether he will be ready to practice or not or play which obviously is not the case yet so … I don’t expect him back [soon],” coach Luke Walton said. “I haven’t seen him on the court doing anything but they’re looking at it, still just taking it day by day to see when the knee is feeling better.”
Walton wants Ball to go through a practice before he will be able to play in a game. But before he can practice, he must successfully go through on-court agility drills to determine whether his knee is ready.
The Lakers haven’t let on that it’s anything to be concerned about, similarly to how they handled his shoulder injury that had him out prior to the knee. The training staff has been very precautionary all season, and that appears to be the case with Lonzo’s ailing knee.