Photo By: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—On Thursday Lakers second year point guard Lonzo Ball practiced for the first time this year. It was his first full contact practice this training camp.
Ball who missed his final eight games of his rookie season (knee) and 30 overall due to multiple injuries said “It was the most intense basketball the point guard has played in five months” who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in July. "It was good today," Ball said. "Did the whole practice. Did everything today. Obviously I was a little tired but had to get back."
Head coach Luke Walton said after the Lakers practice that Ball is “doubtful” to play in the Lakers first preseason game on Sunday night when the Denver Nuggets come to town.
The second year guard is anxious to play says “Hopefully as soon as possible, but Sunday I will be out and then take it day by day." He didn’t play ball to begin his offseason to allow his knee to heal. He also tried platelet-rich plasma injection shots to treat his left meniscus. When the pain persisted, he chose to have surgery which ultimately delayed him from full contact with his teammates until he was ready.
He did other things off the basketball court to keep himself in shape and trying to improve in areas he felt he needed improvement, like hitting the weight room to get stronger to be able to deal with the physicality of the pro level. In his first contact he said he definitely felt the difference; "I am definitely a lot stronger than I was last year," Ball said. "It is just easier going through the paint, shoving people."
Coach Luke Walton was impressed by what he got out of Ball in his first full day of practice.
"He looked really good, it was good to see him out there cutting and making his reads and his passes," Walton said.
Ball still feels it’s going to take time to get his rhythm back.
"Still a little rusty, though, threw a couple of passes a little too high," he said. "But ... I feel good."