Although the Los Angeles Lakers have not made an official announcement, Lonzo Ball himself recently confirmed reports he would not return this season as he continues to recover from a sprained left ankle and bone bruise.
Ball sustained the injury Jan. 19, and after undergoing an MRI the following day that revealed the severity — Grade 3 sprain — Ball was projected to miss four to six weeks. Persistent pain led to additional testing, which then revealed Ball suffered a bone bruise.
The Lakers cleared ball for non-contact basketball activities on March 9, and said he would be re-evaluated in two weeks. In recently discussing his point guard’s status, Lakers head coach Luke Walton acknowledged there could be benefit if Ball managed to return.
“If he’s 100 percent healthy, there might be a little bit of value in it,” Walton said. Even with that, Walton made it clear the team would not rush Ball’s recovery process and noted he wasn’t on the verge of playing.
So with Ball all but formally ruled out, the focus shifted to the months ahead. “Lonzo hasn’t had himself an offseason yet as far as development, which is a huge part of when you get better at this level,” Walton added.
“Where we’re at now and it not looking like he’s close to being able to play yet, it’s almost getting to the point where the true value comes in let’s get him as healthy as possible so he has however many months this summer to really expand and keep working on this game.”
Walton said the Lakers would not even broach the topic of Ball potentially playing this season without him first participating in practice for one week. In his remarks six days ago, Ball said he still couldn’t run or jump.
With back-to-back seasons ending early because of injury, Ball is looking forward to getting healthy and using the summer to improve rather than rehab.