One reason for the optimism surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers heading into NBA free agency is the young core they’ve assembled through draft picks accrued over difficult seasons. Included in that is Lonzo Ball, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Ball entered his rookie season facing lofty, if not insurmountable expectations. Not only was he a Southern California native playing for his hometown team, but his father, LaVar Ball, had drawn added attention to his son because of outlandish claims and predictions.
To his credit, Lonzo went about his first year with the Lakers in a professional manner. His play drew praise from the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, among others.
But Ball’s rookie campaign ended in disappointment as he missed the final eight games and 35 of the final 51 due to injuries.
Injury woes aren’t yet behind the 20-year-old point guard, as he’s suffered a torn meniscus, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports:
Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has a torn meniscus in his left knee, league sources tell Yahoo. Ball is expected to be ready for training camp next season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 29, 2018
One of the injuries Ball endured during the season was a left knee contusion on March 28. He downplayed the issue and expected to make a quick return to the court. An MRI on the knee did not reveal any structural damage.
But soreness and discomfort lingered, which led to the Lakers effectively shutting Ball down for the remainder of the season. Prior to that, he had also sustained a shoulder sprain and left MCL sprain.
Ball averaged 10.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.7 steals. Despite being limited to 52 games (50 starts), he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
Ball finished the season tied for first among all rookies in steals, while ranking second in assists and fourth in rebounds. Furthermore, he tied James as the youngest player in NBA history with multiple triple-doubles in a single season.
Earlier this month it was reported Ball was administered a platelet-rich plasma injection into his left knee after keeping off the court for one month. Per reports relayed by Lakers head coach Luke Walton and teammate Kyle Kuzma, Ball had been working out in the weight room.
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