The Los Angeles Lakers asserted Lonzo Ball was 100 percent healthy and recovered from offseason knee surgery but he nonetheless was held out of the first 5-on-5 scrimmage and contact as training camp opened at UCLA Health Training Center.
Ball estimated he missed roughly five months of court time because of knee trouble and while recovering. Naturally, there was rust and some fatigue as he worked through the entirety of practice, but he was pleased to be on the court.
“Got through the whole practice, did everything today,” he said. “Obviously, I was a little tired but I’m happy to be back. I wouldn’t really say anything was hard. It was kind of just making sure there wasn’t pain. I felt good.”
Although the restrictions have been lifted off Ball, he won’t play in the Lakers’ preseason opener on Sunday night. “Just take it day by day,” Ball answered when asked if he had a target date in mind.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton was pleased with what he saw from his second-year point guard. “It was good to see him out there cutting and making his reads, his passes,” Walton added.
Ball’s first full-contact practice had him participating in a controlled scrimmage setting. That entailed going up against a team led by LeBron James. “He was hitting shots from all over the court today,” Ball said.
“I wasn’t guarding him, but I was in help. It was a tough job.”