As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to hit the road for a five-game road trip, one of the biggest questions hanging over the team is the status of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.
Ball has missed the last five games, with a sprained knee suffered in Dallas against the Mavericks and while the team has finally gotten into the win column without him, Luke Walton and the rest of the Lakers would obviously prefer to have their point guard back on the court.
He’s doing some things on the court, still no agility, no contact,” Walton said after practice Thursday. Despite the improvements however, Walton officially ruled Lonzo out for Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
“Getting better doing more in the weight room, more in the training room, but still he’s not gonna play tomorrow.”
The Lakers have won their last three games without Ball, but they were also all at home. Things get a lot tougher on the road, but Walton refuses to rush Lonzo back, putting his return timetable in the hands of the Lakers doctors.
“If he gets cleared then yea, but I’m in no rush. Obviously we want him back, but we’re not gonna rush him back so until whenever that day comes that the medical staff clears him to play, he’ll play. If that’s on this trip great, if not then we’ll do it when we get home.”
Following Friday’s game in Chicago, the Lakers will face the Raptors, Magic, Nets, and Thunder before finally returning home on February 6 against the Phoenix Suns. Keeping up their level of play without Lonzo would be a huge accomplishment for these Lakers and proof as to the steps they are taking in their development.
Getting Lonzo healthy is the most important thing and Walton refuses to lose sight of that fact. He has made it clear that he will not rush Lonzo back for the sake of winning games.
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