Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton confirmed Lonzo Ball will return Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks. It will be Ball’s first action since Jan. 13, with the team going 8-7 in the time he missed.
What had not been decided as of shootaround is whether Ball will start or come off the bench. Walton did say the rookie point guard will be on a minutes restriction, though details were not provided.
Additionally, Ball will not play Saturday. “He’s been out six weeks, so it’s more precautionary than anything else,” Walton said. “He could wake up (Saturday) and feel great and want to play, but it’s also part of our job to protect him from himself.
“When you’re coming back from an injury that’s held you out that long, and your first set of games is a back-to-back, it just makes sense to not play in them both.”
After this weekend, the Lakers’ next back-to-back is not until March 13-14.
On Thursday, Ball admitted to not quite being fully recovered from the sprained MCL in his left knee, but was confident he’s capable of playing through lingering discomfort. Ball said Friday there was consideration given to playing prior to the All-Star break but it was determined another week’s worth of rest was the best course of action.
Of his first game back coming at home, Ball said “it’s going to be great.” Walton said he anticipates Ball and Isaiah Thomas both playing with one another and staggering at point guard. Ball
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