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Lonzo Ball expected to return from injury Friday against Hornets

Lonzo Ball expected to return from injury Friday against Hornets
Lakers' Lonzo Ball, center, sits on the bench during the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 27. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Lonzo Ball will return to the Lakers' lineup on Friday night, barring an unexpected setback during the day.

"I'm just happy to be back just to have the chance to hopefully get out there and help my teammates," Ball said.

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Ball has missed six games with a sprained left shoulder. He suffered the injury against the Portland Trail Blazers just before halftime. Though he returned to the game, Ball woke up sore the next day and missed the Lakers' Christmas Day game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ball skipped the Lakers' road trip with games on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day altogether.

Ball returned to practice on Thursday and participated in the full contact, and unusually physical, practice fully. He said he is a little bit sore today, but the injury has healed enough to where he won't be hampered on the court.

The Lakers have struggled in Ball's absence. They are on an eight-game losing streak, and its low point came Wednesday with a 37-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Numbers don't lie," Ball said. "It's proven that we play a lot better when we play faster. That's what I bring to the table. So hopefully it helps out."

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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