The Los Angeles Lakers announced Lonzo Ball and Brook Lopez were each cleared to resume practicing. They’re both considered day-to-day and are listed as probable for Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Coming off back-to-back games, the Lakers did not practice Tuesday but will hold a shootaround Wednesday, when more may be learned on Ball and Lopez.
Lopez has been out since suffering a right ankle sprain in the second quarter of a Dec. 18 game against the Golden State Warriors. An MRI the following day confirmed a moderate sprain of Lopez’s right ankle, and he was expected to miss a minimum of three weeks.
Lopez did some standstill shooting prior to a game last week, though Lakers head coach Luke Walton said it wasn’t necessarily an indication the team was on the verge of getting their starting center back.
The 29-year-old is averaging 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, while shooting 44.4 percent on his field goal attempts and 29.7 percent from behind the arc. Lopez started in each of the Lakers’ 28 games prior to sustaining the injury.
Ball has missed the past five games since suffering a left shoulder sprain. The injury occurred Dec. 23 against the Portland Trail Blazers, when Ball was seen shaking his shoulder and subsequently taken to the locker room.
He was initially diagnosed with a left shoulder contusion and he returned to action, playing a total of 37 minutes. The Lakers didn’t release a timetable for Ball’s recovery, but he and Walton mentioned the team would err on the side of caution and not rush a return.
The Lakers are mired in a season-worst seven-game losing streak and have dropped 10 of their past 11 games. It’s been a byproduct of a stagnant offense, which of course can be explained by Ball’s absence, and a defense that surprisingly has struggled without Lopez.
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