The Los Angeles Lakers have one game left before the trade deadline passes and Lonzo Ball won’t be playing in it. The No. 2 pick has missed 10 games in a row after suffering a sprained MCL. Lakers head coach Luke Walton called off practice after their five-game road trip wrapped up Sunday in Oklahoma City, meaning Ball won’t have a chance to practice before the Lakers face the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, as reported by Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles.
No practice means no clearance for Ball, who still has to go through agility drills before being allowed back on the practice floor. Walton has been clear that Ball must go through a full practice before getting back into the rotation, which means Lonzo won’t be lining up until the trade deadline smoke settles across the NBA.
The good news for the Lakers is they’ve strung together a two game winning streak after their deflating loss to the Orlando Magic, and LA has gone 2-1 over Phoenix this season. The Suns are one of the eight teams in the NBA with a worse winning percentage than the Lakers, though as shown in Orlando, that doesn’t equate to a default win for the purple and gold.
Ball’s absence has created opportunities for players like Josh Hart and Jordan Clarkson to step up, but has also left the Lakers shorthanded and lacking in the talent department. There’s still not much of a meter on when Ball will be back, the next opportunity arising Thursday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Well played, NBA schedulers.