After missing his last 13 games with a left MCL sprain, Lonzo Ball should be making his return to the Los Angeles Lakers soon, but not as soon as some, including Ball, had hoped.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, head coach Luke Walton has ruled out Ball for the next two games, making his availability for Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge less likely.
Lonzo Ball is out for the Lakers upcoming back to back and probably for the Rising Stars game. Walton wouldn’t commit to that, but if he’s not playing tomorrow and Thursday, he’s likely not playing Friday.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 13, 2018
Ball was one of three Lakers selected to represent Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge, along with rookie Kyle Kuzma and second-year forward Brandon Ingram. Should Ball miss out this year, the Lakers will be well represented regardless.
Still, it’s disappointing to think the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks won’t be participants in the Rising Stars Challenge, especially with the latter showing signs of All-Star potential in his rookie campaign.
On the season, Ball is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. His shooting from the field (35.6 percent) still leaves much to be desired, but he was showing a spike in production prior to suffering an injury to his left MCL. In December, Ball was shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 37.7 from long range on 5.3 attempts per game.
Ball will surely miss out on playing in his first Rising Stars game, especially in front his hometown crowd in Los Angeles, but his long-term health is more important than some exhibition game. If all goes well, he’ll likely get an invite again next year.
Ball will have a 10-day gap between now and his next game to get his knee to full strength. Hopefully by the time the Lakers return from All-Star break, Ball will be ready to lead the Lakers to a playoff push alongside his new teammates Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye.
Get well soon, Zo!