A stumble in practice Friday has put Lonzo Ball’s availability for the weekend up in the air.
Coach Luke Walton acknowledged Friday afternoon that Ball had landed on someone’s foot during practice and had to go to the training room. It’s still unclear how serious the injury is: While Walton didn’t appear gravely concerned, he hoped it wouldn’t be a long-term issue as other injuries have been for Ball.
“Hopefully it’s nothing serious,” he said. “We got him out at the end of practice. He went in and got some treatment and I haven’t seen him again since.”
The Lakers didn’t have an official update for Ball’s status as of early Friday afternoon. The Lakers will play in Sacramento on Saturday night before returning Sunday to face the Atlanta Hawks.
If Ball is unable to play, Rajon Rondo would figure to start in his place at point guard. Walton has also used LeBron James and Brandon Ingram as point forwards before.
It’s been an up-and-down season for Ball, who had offseason knee surgery and took some time to get back to playing shape from that injury. After starting the season on the bench, Ball took over starting at point guard during Rajon Rondo’s three-game suspension, earning himself the job after Rondo returned. But in the past six games, Ball has struggled by his own admission, averaging just 6.7 points and 4.0 assists while shooting under 40 percent.
Ball already has a bit of an injury history, missing 30 games last season. But Walton said the team feels positively about his progress in his second year. When asked if Ball is getting better at directing half-court sets after starting his career as a transition specialist, Walton said Ball has benefited from having James and Rondo around.
“If you ask either one of these guys where any of the five people on the court are going to be on a certain play, they’ll be able to tell you,” he said. “And that’s what you need out of your point guard and Lonzo has that ability, he has that understanding of the game. But he is, I think, getting some great experience right now as far as the half-court execution stuff you’re talking about.”
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