Luke Walton says Lonzo "isn't close to returning."
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton informed reporters today that Lonzo Ball "isn't close to returning," making it highly unlikely that the second year point appears in any of the Lakers' 17 remaining regular season games.
According to multiple reports, Walton says the priority is making sure Lonzo enters the offseason with a clean bill of health. Ball will reportedly meet with doctors on Saturday to have his injured ankle re-evaluated.
Ball, 21, suffered a grade 3 ankle sprain, which means there was a complete or near-complete tear of the ankle ligament. The recovery timetable for that type of injury is typically set between 10 to 12 weeks, more than double the initial 4-6 weeks timeframe that the team had hoped.
Since the January 19 injury, Ball hasn’t done anything outside of dribbling drills and standstill shooting, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
The former UCLA star played in just 47 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 9.9 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. To date, he has appeared in a total of 99 games in his first two seasons.
The Lakers are currently 6.5 games back of the eighth seeded Los Angeles Clippers, and they've already made plans to limit LeBron James' minutes for the remainder of the season.