Lonzo Ball Has MCL Sprain; Luke Walton Wouldn't Be Surprised If PG Returned Soon

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the San Antonio Spurs on January 11, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton said Saturday that rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is "feeling better every day" in his recovery from a sprained MCL and could return to practice soon.

Bill Oram of the Orange County Register provided the update from Walton, who noted Ball has been limited to conditioning and individual shooting drills so far.

"I wouldn't be surprised if within a couple days, a week, whatever it is, they say he's ready to start practicing again," he said. "But we're still training and approaching it as if it's long-term."

Ball suffered the injury during the Lakers' 107-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 13. He's missed the team's last six games because of the ailment.

The second overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft explained he didn't know the extent of the setback until he woke up the following day.

"It kind of went away after a play, so I thought I was cool," Ball told reporters Jan. 15. "Throughout the day I thought I was fine. Then I woke up the next morning and I could barely walk. We got the MRI. Thankfully it is just a sprained knee. I should be back soon."

The 20-year-old California native is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals across 36 appearances so far in his debut season. He's struggled to find his shooting stroke, however, hitting just 35.6 percent of his attempts from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Tyler Ennis could continue to receive starts for as long as Ball remains sidelined, though Jordan Clarkson will still receive a lion's share of the playing time at the point. Josh Hart and Alex Caruso will also see more action off the bench as part of the backcourt rotation.

The Lakers (19-29) will likely play it safe with Ball since they are 6.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and unlikely to make up the ground.