Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton confirmed Lonzo Ball will not play for the team before NBA All-Star weekend. The Lakers finish the unofficial first half of the season with a back-to-back that begins Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
After that Thursday, the Lakers won’t play again until Friday, Feb. 23, when they host the Dallas Mavericks. Ball last played Jan. 13, and it wasn’t until Tuesday that he was a full participant in a practice with contact.
“He looked good but there was still a little bit of discomfort,” Walton said. “The progress is great, but it just doesn’t make sense to risk [a return] right now.
“We’re going to continue to treat him, he’ll continue to come in and get work done, get shots up, and when his body is ready then he’ll play again.”
Although Ball is not yet asymptomatic, it’s not considered reason for concern. “He did the most since hurting himself, today,” Walton explained. “He didn’t pull himself out, he practiced the entire time, so the progress is good. No concern.”
Ball previously indicated his final hurdles to clear were running full speed and jumping.
Just as they have sine an MRI revealed Ball suffered a sprained MCL in the overtime victory against the Mavericks, the Lakers are not putting any sort of timeline in place or expectation on when the rookie point guard will return to the court.
“I can’t tell you if that’s going to be the first game (after the All-Star break), second game, or third game. It’s whenever his body is ready to get after it again,” Walton said.
With Ball officially ruled out for the Lakers’ next two games, his status for this weekend’s Rising Stars Challenge remains uncertain. Walton didn’t anticipate that Ball would play in the showcase, but Walton said that ultimately is not his decision to make.
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