Lonzo Ball's knee is '100 percent' but Lakers will still ease him back at start of training camp

When the Los Angeles Lakers open up training camp with their new-look squad led by LeBron James, there will be one notable absence -- at least during full-contact drills. According to Lakers coach Luke Walton, second-year point guard Lonzo Ball will not be ready for a full practice. 

Ball underwent a knee procedure back in July, and while it was relatively minor, the Lakers don't want to take any chances with his recovery. Thus, Walton and the team have decided to ease him back into action when camp begins. Via ESPN:

Lonzo Ball will not participate in full-contact practice when the Los Angeles Lakers open training camp next week, head coach Luke Walton said.

"He will be in camp participating. He won't be doing full 5-on-5 contact at camp, at the start of camp," Walton said in an interview with Spectrum SportsNet that will air at 8 p.m. PT Wednesday. "So we're starting to ease him into it again, play some one-on-one, things like that, half-court stuff."

"But with a player of his ability, and how much he's gonna be a part of our future, the conversation is ... take as much time as you need to make sure he's healthy. We won't rush him back at all."

The good news, is that Ball has been "100 percent cleared" by the Lakers' medical staff. Keeping him out of full-contact 5-on-5 drills right away is simply a matter of ramping up his activity level after being out for so long, not a matter of the health of his knee.

As Walton noted, Ball has plenty of talent -- even with an inconsistent outside shot -- and figures to be a big part of the Lakers' future. This decision makes plenty of sense, as there's simply no reason to risk making Ball do too much too soon right as he returns. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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