Ball Out Through All-Star Break

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

While Lonzo Ball participated in some contact portions of practice on Tuesday afternoon for the first time since he sprained his left MCL on Jan. 13 at Dallas, the Lakers will hold him out of the final two games before the All-Star break.

“We’re not gonna play him tomorrow,” said Luke Walton after Tuesday’s practice. “With the back-to-back and a week off after that, the progress is great but it just doesn’t make sense to risk it right now.”

The Lakers play in New Orleans on Wednesday evening, and Minnesota on Thursday.

The fact that Ball’s knee was even a little bit sore since he’s been ramping up his activity level throughout the last several days made for a relatively easy decision.

“There was some contact, which is the first time he’s really done that,” said Walton. “It wasn’t up-and-down, full-court scrimmaging, but it was half-court defensive drills with guys getting after it. He looked good, but there’s still a little bit of discomfort.”

Ball did the most today since suffering the initial sprain while posting up Dennis Smith, Jr. in Dallas, and didn’t pull himself out of practice due to pain. He made it through the entire session, which Walton took as a good sign.

“It was good to see him out there again,” said Luke Walton. “The progress is good and no concern with that.”

By holding Ball out of the back-to-back, the Lakers buy an additional 10 days until their next game, which comes on Feb. 23 at Staples Center against the Mavericks.

It’s safe to assume that Ball will also miss Friday evening’s Rising Stars game, which will tip off All-Star weekend, though Walton had no official word on that.

“I would assume (he is out for Rising Stars), but I guess it’s undetermined,” he said. “I don’t know who makes that call, but he’ll be out for our two games.”

The Lakers lost the first eight games Ball missed* before rallying to go 8-3 in the last 11 (8-11 overall).
*Six due to a sprained shoulder.

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