EL SEGUNDO — Lonzo Ball said if it were his decision, he would play in tonight’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
But Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton was not so definitive in Ball’s status. He said the training staff will make the decision tomorrow regarding whether or not Ball will play after missing the last 15 games with a left MCL sprain.
“He practiced in full (Thursday),” Walton said after practice. “We’ll have to see how he responds, how he feels. But he looked good (Thursday). It was nice having him on the court.”
The official Twitter account of Big Baller Brand, owned by the Ball family, announced Ball would play today. But either Walton on Ball addressed that at practice. It appeared the tweet had been deleted later in the day.
Ball suffered the injury in a Jan. 13 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks. If he comes back today, he will have been out of commission a total for more than 40 days.
Walton said he watched Ball during drills and determined that the No. 2 overall pick was not favoring his left knee.
“He seemed to really get to where he wanted to,” Walton said. “He shot some pull-up midrange jumpers, he got to the rim, he made some passes. So he looked good (Thursday). But its’s all about how recovers and feels when he gets up tomorrow.”
Over the past several weeks, Ball was worn a brace on his injured left knee. He anticipates keeping it on “realistically until the pain goes fully away.”
“I just gotta wait for that day to come,” Ball said.
The day after a recent road game against the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers had an off day. Isaiah Thomas had just joined the team via trade, and Lonzo Ball sent him a text message asking him if he goes into the practice facility on days off.
Thomas replied, “There’s no days off. So I’ll be in there.” Ball then asked if the two could workout together, and they did at about 11 a.m. the next morning.
“That says a lot about what type of person and player he is,” Thomas said of Ball. “He wants to be great. He wants to get better. And I’m all for helping him because I’ve been in the league seven years and I know a little bit about the NBA. But at the same time, I’m still pushing to be great as well.”
Ball said he was trying to “get a feel” for what type of player Thomas was by asking him about his practice habits on off days. The relationship between the two has been a subject of some intrigue considering both Ball and Thomas play the same position and want to start games.
But in the short time Thomas has been on the team — he was moved on Feb. 8 just before the trade deadline — both have said they could coexist well on the court.
“We’re both basketball players that play with so many different types of players,” Thomas said. “We both have high IQs and at the same time, I can play off the ball, he can play off the ball. We just gotta figure out things on the fly because 25 games left, we’re gonna make a push and then just keep getting better.”
Channing Frye will not travel on the upcoming road trip, the Lakers announced today.
Frye underwent surgery in Cleveland during the All-Star break for appendicitis. The team announced on Feb. 17 that he will be re-evaluated once he returns to Los Angeles.