The Los Angeles Lakers opened training camp Tuesday morning but not on the floor at UCLA Health Training Center was second-year point guard Lonzo Ball. He’s been sidelined entirely or limited in action since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-July.
Just last week, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka claimed Ball was “100 percent” healthy and cleared by the medical staff. Ball then declared as much himself on Media Day. Yet, caution continues to reign supreme.
“‘Zo didn’t do anything,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said after Tuesday morning’s practice session. “They only want him practicing once a day. Because a lot of today’s practice was contact, we chose the evening practice.”
Walton said the night session was due to entail plenty of running and other non-contact activity. The Lakers are expected to hold their first scrimmage on Wednesday, but as was previously decided, Ball will not be a participant.
“We’re still easing him into that,” Walton reiterated with respect to 5-on-5 action. “We’ll take it one day at a time.” Should Ball get through his first practice without issue, it would serve as a stepping stone to a participating on Wednesday.
“That’ll be contact, and we’ll see how he feels from that next day and kind of just keep building off of that,” Walton explained.
He was not yet ready to declare a starting point guard, only offering that Rajon Rondo was set to start in the forthcoming scrimmage. When asked when Ball might be at the stage of playing under such a setting, Walton said, “I have no idea how to answer that question.”
He did, however, add Ball was “at least a few” steps from playing in 5-on-5.