Lonzo Ball Questionable to Make Return from Knee Injury vs. Mavericks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) signals to a teammate during an offensive possession against the Dallas Mavericks in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball may make his return to action from a sprained left MCL on Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks, as the point guard is questionable for the game, per the Lakers' official website. Big Baller Brand's Twitter account initially announced he would make his return but has since deleted the post.

Ball, 20, last played Jan. 13 against the Mavs.

He'll return to a new-look Lakers side. Gone are Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. In is fellow point guard Isaiah Thomas, who likely will slide to the bench, a new role for the veteran.

Ball's teammates seem excited to welcome him back.

"It's gonna be really fun to have him out there pushing the basketball and putting guys in different spots and giving confidence to other guys," Brandon Ingram told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. "It's just gonna make our offense even better."

Head coach Luke Walton did acknowledge before the All-Star break that the team's roster shakeup at the NBA trade deadline will necessitate some adjustments.

"As a staff, we will spend [some of] the break coming up with ideas as far as what will be the most effective way for us to play with the new roster that we have," he said last week, per Youngmisuk. "Go back and watch old footage, brainstorm a couple of different ideas. We will come up with some stuff."

Ball's return may also help steady the ship for a Lakers team that lost three straight games before the break.

"We've got to get our mojo back," Walton noted. "We somehow lost it quickly. ... We're just not playing any defense."

Ball should help in that regard, as his distinct size advantage over Thomas allows the Lakers the freedom to switch more. Additionally, he can bring more pace to the side and possesses a well-rounded game—he's averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists this season.

Ball still needs to figure out his jumper, as he's shooting just 35.6 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from three. But the impact he makes in other areas of the game should benefit the Lakers.

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