The Los Angeles Lakers have two preseason games remaining, both of which come against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The team will finally welcome back point guard Lonzo Ball from offseason knee surgery.
The Lakers have been taking things very slowly with Ball, refusing to rush him back even though he has been practicing for a little while now. Walton and the Lakers had their reasons however, especially when it comes to Ball’s conditioning.
“It’s part of the reason why we wanted to do it,” Walton explained following practice. “When you haven’t played in that long, you tend to get fatigued quicker, and when you get fatigued, that’s when you hurt something else.
“Part of us taking our time with it is making sure he gets his legs back to where they need to be. If he stays on the path he’s on right now, we feel confident he’s there enough that we’re confident in letting him play.”
Walton also noted that Ball has looked great in practice, a sentiment LeBron James also shared. This has the team, the fans, and Ball himself very excited to see what looks like on the court. Walton is as well, though for different reasons.
“I’m excited because I know we need the practice at it,” Walton said of incorporating his young point guard into rotations.
“As great as it will be to be healthy and have guys at full strength, for me it’s more important for them to start getting reps together. Everyone else in camp has had that opportunity for two weeks now. Lonzo hasn’t, with the amount of reps and full-court contact stuff, so I’m more excited about practice time for them.”
There isn’t much time left for the Lakers to work things out at full strength, but Walton will make sure he has his team ready to go and these last two contests will be important for Ball, and the rest of the team to get things together.
He’s projected to play between 10 and 30 minutes off the bench on Wednesday, then play again in the Lakers’ final preseason game on Friday.
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