Lonzo Ball nearing return amid latest LaVar Ball controversy

By @saihoops on
Lonzo Ball injury update, Lonzo Ball
Jan 13, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball (2) warms up wearing a top that commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj

Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball is nearing a comeback after missing an extended period due to a sprained left MCL, according to several reports. LaVar Ball, the father of Lonzo, has been in the headlines for making controversial remarks regarding the Lakers franchise.

LaVar Ball recently told a Lithuanian basketball reporter that he expects all three of his sons to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, threatening the Purple & Gold of severe consequences. LaVar went as far as to say that Lonzo would not re-sign with the Lakers if LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball don't land with the storied Los Angeles franchise. Both LiAngelo and LaMelo are currently playing in Lithuania.

While the Lakers have yet to respond to LaVar's threats, they do expect Lonzo Ball to be cleared for action following the All-Star break. Ball, drafted No. 2 overall by the Lakers last June, hasn't played a game since the 107-101 away victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 13. In his absence, the Lakers have won eight out of their last 13 games, including impressive victories against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics.

Lonzo Ball injury update: Lakers PG unlikely for Rising Stars game

According to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, Ball went through his first contact practice Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) and should be cleared for a comeback after the All-Star break. Lakers coach Luke Walton confirmed that Ball will miss the team's back-to-back games against the New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves.

"We are not going to play him tomorrow (against Pelicans). With a back-to-back and a week off after that, the progress is great but it just doesn't make sense to risk it right now. There was some contact (in practice today) which is the first time he has really done that. It wasn't up-and-down, full-court scrimmaging (type of contact), but it was half court defensive drills with guys getting after it. He looked good, but there is still a little discomfort," Walton told reporters.

There is still no official confirmation on Ball's status for the Rising Stars Game on Friday. "We are going to continue to treat him, and he will continue to come in and get work done and get shots up and when his body is ready, then he will play again. I can't tell you if that is going to be the first game, or the second game or the third game (after the All-Star break). Whenever his body is ready to get after it again," added Walton.

Lonzo Ball, fellow rookie Kyle Kuzma and second-year forward Brandon Ingram are three Lakers chosen for the Rising Stars Game during the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. Ball, widely regarded as the next elite point guard in the NBA, is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds in his rookie season with the Lakers. Stay tuned for the latest Lonzo Ball injury update.