After missing the last three preseason games with a left ankle sprain, Lonzo Ball returned to the practice floor on Thursday.
The second-overall pick sat out of full-court scrimmaging, but was able to to participate in the rest of the session. He is listed as questionable for Friday’s preseason finale against the LA Clippers.
“It’s only been a week (off the court), but it feels a lot longer than that,” Ball said.
Ball initially injured his ankle in an exhibition against Denver on Oct. 2. He had it wrapped up and returned to the game, but what was initially considered a mild sprain ended up swelling a few hours later.
“That night when I woke up, it got fat,” Ball said. “That’s what set me back a little bit.”
Head coach Luke Walton said that his rookie point guard initially seemed to be favoring his ankle at Thursday’s practice, but that he continued to move better throughout the day.
Nonetheless, Walton felt that having Ball sidelined for 10 days cost the team some opportunities to establish continuity.
“It’s a setback for sure,” Walton said. “They need that time on the floor together. The good thing for us is we do have a week from tomorrow’s game to the (regular) season.”
In particular, Walton said the team missed Ball’s defining trait: “the ability to make everyone on the court a threat at all times.”
“I think Tyler (Ennis) and AC (Alex Caruso) have done a nice job filling in,” Walton said, “but that’s a special skill that (Ball) has.”
Fortunately for the Lakers, Ball took a key step at Thursday’s practice and seemed to be enjoying himself, even if he ended up on the wrong end of a half-court shooting competition with Kyle Kuzma.
“It didn’t go good today,” Ball said of the contest. “I started off hot, ended pretty cold.”