Although Lonzo Ball voiced confidence he would play Thursday night against the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said after practice his point guard is questionable for the start of a four-game homestand.
Ball suffered a left ankle sprain in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game with the Denver Nuggets. He was considered questionable to return and started the third quarter but was removed after just two minutes and didn’t play the rest of the night.
Ball said after the Lakers’ loss he felt he was capable of still playing but was held out at the team’s discretion. Ball maintained he’s in relatively good health Wednesday, though Walton didn’t appear quite as convinced.
“He did a lot of work in the training room and now he’s in the weight room. Nothing on the basketball court,” Walton said. “He is tender to the touch, which would be expected on any ankle sprain. He said he feels good, he’s not limping around, came in early and got treatment.”
Despite issuing caution, Walton supported Ball’s assertion that he would not miss any games as a result of the injury. “We want that mentality. We want everyone wanting to play no matter what, unless we pull them out,” Walton said.
“At the end of the day it will come down to what we feel is best for him. If he’s at risk of getting hurt worse or hurting something else, and that comes from the training staff, then it will be our call to keep him out or not.”
Ball previously rolled his left ankle during an October game against the Sacramento Kings, predicted he would be available the following night for a back-to-back and wound up continuing to play.
If Ball is forced to miss any time, it will strip the Lakers of their top two point guards as Rajon Rondo is still recovering from hand surgery. Additionally, Alex Caruso recently sprained an ankle and may not be an option for spot duty this weekend.