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Lonzo Ball to travel with team on road trip, but may not play

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to adjust to life without rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who remains out of the lineup since spraining his left knee Jan. 13 in Dallas. For all of the criticism Ball has shouldered this season, the Lakers are clearly a much different team without him in the lineup.

Ball’s availability for the Lakers’ upcoming five-game road trip, which kicks off Friday in Chicago (8 ET, NBA League Pass), remains uncertain. Walton said Ball will travel with the team. But there is no set timetable for his return, which means his current absence from the lineup could potentially stretch into the double digits since he’ll miss his fifth straight game Tuesday against Boston. Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times provides an update on Ball’s situation:

“He did more yesterday than the day before and he says he feels good today but he is still out. … I get the call from the training staff telling me whether he will be ready to practice or not or play which obviously is not the case yet so … I don’t expect him back [soon],” coach Luke Walton said. “I haven’t seen him on the court doing anything but they’re looking at it, still just taking it day by day to see when the knee is feeling better.”

Walton wants Ball to go through a practice before he will be able to play in a game. But before he can practice, he must successfully go through on-court agility drills to determine whether his knee is ready.

Ball does not have a history of ligament damage in his knee, but the Lakers have no plans to rush him back from this injury.

Injuries have hampered Ball more than once since he began NBA play. His latest comes on the heels of a shoulder sprain he suffered Dec. 23.

“I think as players grow, especially when they’re players [who] come in young, part of it is growing into your body,” Walton said. “You become stronger, and as you become stronger I think you become more durable.”

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