Ball's being handled with caution

Tania Ganguli, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

OKLAHOMA CITY -- There was no indication Lonzo Ball would be able to practice on Monday as of Sunday afternoon, when coach Luke Walton addressed reporters before the Los Angeles Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Ball is recovering from a sprained left medial collateral ligament in his left knee that has caused him to miss 10 games, on the heels of a shoulder injury that sidelined him for six.

Before the rookie point guard plays in a game, he will have to complete a full practice and feel good after it. Before he practices, he will have to go through full-speed, non-contact drills.

The Lakers had Ball put his knee through some more rigorous work while they were in Toronto. Ball felt some soreness, so the team erred on the side of caution.

"There was some times where we had him push it a little bit and he felt something," Walton said. "Whether or not he could have pushed through it, we decided just as soon as he felt something to cut it back right then and just stick to the things he didn't feel anything doing."

Ball traveled with the Lakers for their five-game, 11-day trip to Chicago, Toronto, Orlando, Brooklyn and Oklahoma City. On Saturday night he went to a dinner with the other rookies and assistant coaches Miles Simon and Brian Shaw.


"There's always activities we have on these road trips planned for the young players," Walton said. "He's done a really nice job talking with the guys and staying engaged and asking questions."

The Lakers have not allowed Ball to speak to reporters since they announced they were treating the injury like a long-term one. Ball initially was referred to as day to day after he suffered the injury, and even listed as questionable for the following game at Memphis.

A sprained MCL typically takes one to three weeks to heal. Saturday marked exactly three weeks since Ball suffered the injury.



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