The Los Angeles Lakers got their preseason kicked off on Sunday with a 124-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets. The game marked the debut of LeBron James in a Lakers uniform among others, but one player notably absent was second-year point guard Lonzo Ball.
After offseason knee surgery, Ball was only recently cleared for full-contact basketball and the Lakers are playing it safe with him, slowly ramping up his work and effort. That will be continuing for the Lakers’ second preseason game.
Luke Walton spoke after Monday’s practice and said that Ball will once again sit out the team’s second preseason game on Tuesday night against the Nuggets, via the Lakers official Twitter:
Lonzo Ball will not play tomorrow, per coach Luke Walton.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 1, 2018
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as the Lakers have tended to play these things very slowly and with only two days in between the first preseason games, the team doesn’t want to rush anything. Ball has apparently looked good in practice so far according to Magic Johnson, so it should only be a matter of time before he is suiting up again.
Another good sign towards that is the fact that Ball took part in his first scrimmage at the end of Monday’s practice. Obviously, that is another step in the right direction.
With Ball out, Rajon Rondo will likely be starting once again and looking to have another solid outing. Rondo only scored two points, but added seven rebounds and 11 assists with only two turnovers, doing a great job of orchestrating the offense when he was in.
The Lakers didn’t turn to a true backup point guard with Ball sidelined on Sunday, choosing instead to split up the playmaking duties between the likes of Brandon Ingram, Lance Stephenson, and Josh Hart.