Lakers coach Luke Walton said Lonzo Ball didn’t “do anything” during Tuesday’s first day of practice because the medical staff only wants the second-year guard practicing once a day.
Walton said Ball, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in July, was expected to participate in the practice session Tuesday night at the team’s training facility in El Segundo.
Even then, Walton said, Ball will only participate in selected contact drills during training camp.
“Because a lot of today’s practice was contact, we chose to have him do the evening practice,” Walton said. “He won’t be doing like the five-on-five full contact yet. We’re still easing him into that.”
Ball missed 30 games last season with an assortment of injuries. He sat out six games because of a sprained left shoulder, 16 because of a sore left knee and eight more because of a bruised left knee.
Ball had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee in May, which left him needing about a month recovery time before he was able to return to basketball activities.
Ball felt discomfort in the knee in late June, and that’s when his team began to consider other treatment options. That led to the surgery Ball had in July.
The Lakers have indicated they are not going to rush Ball into a return to full-contact play.
“We’re going to take it one day at a time,” Walton said. “He practices tonight, (but) it’s no contact. But we have a lot of running tonight so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow. As long as he feels fine, then he’ll take part in practice tomorrow. That’ll be contact and we’ll see how he feels from that the next day, kind of just keep building off of that.”
Walton was asked how many steps Ball is away from being involved in five-on-five action.
“I have no idea how to answer that question,” Walton said, smiling. “A few though. At least a few.”