Ball (knee) could be closing in on return to lineup
All of Lakerland is aflutter over the trade that brought former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas to Los Angeles. But don’t forget that there’s a certain rookie point guard who has been out of the mix, too, but may be headed for a return soon.
According to Dan Wokie of the Los Angeles Times, the word on Ball’s status became a little more clear after Monday’s practice in which Ball “pretty much everything” per coach Luke Walton. Ball has been out of the lineup since spraining his left knee Jan. 13 in Dallas.
The Lakers have back-to-back road games on Wednesday (vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 8 ET, NBA League Pass) and Thursday (vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 9 ET, TNT) before the All-Star break. Whether or not Ball will return in either of those games is a mystery, but he’s at least heading toward a comeback sooner rather than later, Wokie writes:
“He hasn’t done any practice, so you don’t just go from zero practice to full-contact practice,” Walton said. “You go to doing practice non-contact and if that feels good, then you do some more contact. And then if that feels good, you start playing again.”
Walton said Ball could participate in a larger workload Tuesday if his sore knee responds to Monday’s increased participation.
“When we get here tomorrow, he’s going to tell us how he feels, he’s going to get treatment … do his warmup and his activations, and then we’ll take it from there,” Walton said.
Walton has previously said the team could elect to wait until after the break to bring Ball back, but Monday he said the team’s not at the point of making that decision yet.
“We’re still just trying to get him to practice,” Walton said. “That decision may not have to be made. For now it’s about seeing … he looked good today.”
Ball is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game this season.