The Los Angeles Lakers upgraded Lonzo Ball’s status to probable for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. Ball has missed the past six games since suffering a left shoulder sprain on Dec. 23.
In his absence the Lakers have seen their offense become stagnant and losing streak reach a season-worst eight games. Los Angeles enters play Friday night having dropped 11 of their last 12, and are coming off a 37-point drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Although Ball’s return may bring heightened expectations of putting an end to the losing, the rookie point guard doesn’t view the situation as such.
“Pressure has been on me since I’ve been here,” Ball said. “So I’m going to look at it the same way.”
Ball’s return should come on the heels of him being a full participant in a physical practice Thursday and shootaround Friday morning. Although he’s managed to get through both sessions, there’s lingering soreness in his left shoulder.
“It’s a little sore, but as long as a I feel like I can play, they should let me play,” Ball said. Lakers head coach Luke Walton described the situation as not being different for any other player at this stage in the season.
“He’s definitely going to play without being 100 percent. [But] I think that’s true for anyone who comes back from injury and everyone that plays that doesn’t have an injury,” Walton said. “There’s not a single guy on our team right now that’s at 100 percent this far into the season.”
Walton previously highlighted the impact Ball has defensively, but he’s also hopeful the starting point guard will remedy the issues on offense. “We don’t want to be an iso-ball type of team,” Walton said.
“We’ve got good cutters, got good athletes. We’re long, we’re young, we want to move and put pressure on defense. Playing iso for us is not what gives us our best chance of winning.”
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