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Lakers News: Luke Walton says Lonzo Ball is ‘a few’ steps away from being fully cleared

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The Lakers are once again playing the Lonzo Ball health card extremely close to the vest.

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Welp, day one of Los Angeles Lakers training camp is finally behind us, but the question at the forefront of everyone’s mind still remains quite the mystery: When might Lonzo Ball be fully cleared to participate and how will the Lakers define full clearance?

Ball was held out of practice Tuesday morning, which came as a bit of concern given some of the updates about his health that we received Monday during Media Day. Luke Walton was asked about this decision by reporters after practice and didn’t have much to say beyond the update itself.

“Zo didn’t do anything (in practice),” Walton said. “They only want him practicing once a day. So because a lot of today’s practice was contact, we chose to have him do the other practice (tonight).”

One would have to imagine the “they” Walton is referring to is the team doctors and maybe some higher-ups. He continued, this time when asked about what Ball might be doing moving forward.

“He won’t be doing the whole 5-on-5, full-contact stuff. We’re still easing him into that,” Walton said.

Tonight specifically, though, will be Ball’s first time on the court officially with his teammates. What can he look forward to and what might that process look like as he works toward full participation?

“We’ll take it one day at a time,” Walton said. “So he practices tonight. It’s no contact, but we have a lot of running tonight. So we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. As long as he feels fine then he’ll take part in practice tomorrow, and that’ll be contact, and we’ll see how he feels from that the next day and just kind of keep building off of that.”

Then, finally, Walton was asked how many steps Ball is from being fully-cleared. His response was, as you’d expect, non-committal: “I have no idea how to answer that question. A few though. At least a few.”

With rumors swirling that Rajon Rondo may have been inserted into the starting lineup because of Ball’s injury concerns, Walton was asked to address the topic.

“I’m expecting Rondo to be our starter for tomorrow. It’s training camp, we’re just getting to know everyone. He was great today, his team won the majority of the drills. And just his leadership, the way finds different ways to win drills is a lot of fun to watch,” Walton said.

This is going to be a topic of conversation for throughout training camp (and maybe the entire 2018-’19 campaign if we’re to base this off what we saw last year). Even when Ball returns, any setbacks at all are going to be treated with the utmost caution.

As those updates come, you can expect to get extremely little in terms of information about the situation from the Lakers, who are sticking with the techniques they used last season in this regard: Saying something while not actually saying much.