The Los Angeles Lakers are on a three-game winning streak without Lonzo Ball and will look to make it four Friday evening against the Chicago Bulls. Ball was ruled out early in the day, reports Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles, a non-surprise as head coach Luke Walton has been clear there are several steps Lonzo needs to clear before he’s ready to get back into the rotation.
Ball’s left-knee sprain has sidelined him for five games, Lonzo reporting soreness following a game where he played 43 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 13.
Tyler Ennis has filled in as starting point guard, with Jordan Clarkson playing a big role in the Lakers’ recent success with more responsibility on his shoulders. The Lakers have had to rely on Alex Caruso to play big minutes in Balls’ absence as well.
The Lakers have taken a cautious approach to rushing players back from injury this season, so it’s not surprising or necessarily reason to panic that Ball’s been out as long as he has with the injury. He’s been doing treadmill work, and running treatment on it while he watches on:
A better view of the device hooked up to Lonzo Ball’s knee at shoot around. pic.twitter.com/cSUNcaKH4r— Shahan Ahmed (@shahanLA) January 26, 2018
Walton said the Lakers need to see him go through a on-court agility drills before the training staff will even clear him to return to practice, which Luke also said he needs to see Lonzo participate in before he returns to the rotation.
The wait continues.