Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball probably hasn’t had as good of a season as he would’ve hoped for.
The heralded point guard has mostly shot poorly while seeing much of the league-wide buzz about young players go to players like Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons and even his teammate Kyle Kuzma.
But part of the reason for the relative lack of hype around Ball has been the various maladies that have sidelined him this year. Ball has dealt with sprains to his MCL and shoulder, among other issues. They’re nicks that have seen him play in just 51 of the Lakers’ 73 games so far.
However, Ball told reporters that since he came back from his most recent injury, he’s done a better job taking care of himself so he can stay on the court, even if it means playing heavy minutes because a lack of depth, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I’ve been taking care of my body pretty well ever since I’ve been back from injury, so it doesn’t really affect me too much right now. It helps that I’m only 20. I’m just trying to go out there and help my team win.”
As Ball notes, at 20 years old, he’s going to be far less susceptible to injuries than he’ll be as he grows older and likely to recover more quickly as well. That would explain why he’s been able to average 41 minutes per game over the team’s last five contests without re-injuring himself.
Still, the Lakers would seem to be wise to continue to take the cautious path they’ve been taking with Ball in not rushing him back from his last few injuries by closing monitoring his health during this large usage uptick, something their training staff is surely doing.
It’s still good news that Ball has been able to come back so quickly, and that he seems to be learning how to take care of his body early in his career. Those skills might matter a little bit now, and they’ll almost certainly make a difference down the road.