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Lakers unsure if Lonzo Ball will play again this season

The Lakers aren’t sure if Lonzo Ball will play again this season because of a painful bruise in his left knee. But if he’s fully healthy with even one or two games left, he’ll play.

“If he gets healthy it’s an opportunity to play him,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “But if it remains sore … then we’ll continue to leave him out for the rest of the season.”

Ball has missed three games because of the injury, which he suffered against the Dallas Mavericks on March 28. He will likely miss Wednesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, one of five games remaining this season. The Lakers won’t practice Thursday.

Walton made it clear that with so few games left, and no playoffs to consider, the team will only play Ball when he is completely pain free to avoid aggravating his injury.

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Ball traveled to Utah with the Lakers and wore an ice machine around his left knee during the portion of shootaround open to reporters. He participated in a three-on-three drill at the Lakers facility before a team flight Monday but woke up sore on Tuesday.

Walton was asked what the value would be in activating Lonzo with so few games left.

“I think the more basketball that our guys can play, I mean, we’re gonna have a long summer,” he said. “We’re gonna give everyone a month off when the season ends. So if he’s healthy and can get out there and get a little more experience before that time off, then might as well take advantage of that opportunity.”

Hart returns

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After shootaround Tuesday, Josh Hart joked about Kyle Kuzma fitting so well in Los Angeles because “he’s Hollywood.”

Kuzma disagreed.

“No, first of all he’s the most Hollywood person,” Kuzma said, ribbing Hart right back. “He got a private jet just to go to Villanova. I don’t have the money to do that, so … No, not a chance. We have a game the next day, I’d be here supporting with my team instead of going to San Antonio.”

Hart, who spent four years at Villanova before being drafted last June, asked permission to take that trip to see his alma mater play in the NCAA championship against Michigan. Walton told him as long as he didn’t miss any team obligations he could go. So Hart chartered a plane to take him to San Antonio, where he watched Villanova win 79-62.

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In the days leading up to the game, Hart said he would talk trash to Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who went to Michigan. After the game, though, Hart was too nervous.

“The best part was like that, my class left and they elevated that program to new heights,” Hart said. “So it was really neat.”

NEXT

VS SPURS

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When: 7:30 p.m.

On Air: TV: ESPN, Spectrum Sportsnet, Spectrum Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330

Update: Both teams will be playing the second night of a back-to-back. The Lakers played the Jazz on Tuesday and the Spurs played the Clippers.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

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Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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