Lonzo Ball returns to practice, still feels discomfort in ankle

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. -- Lonzo Ball returned to practice on Thursday, but he still feels “a little bit of discomfort” and is considered questionable for Friday’s Los Angeles Lakers preseason finale against the LA Clippers.

Ball went through all activities except the 5-on-5 scrimmage portion of practice. He said he still feels discomfort in his left ankle. While the Lakers will see how the point guard feels on Friday and that there could be a chance he returns to action, a source indicated that it is unlikely Ball plays. The Lakers have another week before they open the regular season against the Clippers on Oct. 19, so the team could use that time to make sure their prized rookie is fully healthy.

“Felt good,” Ball said after returning to practice 10 days after injuring his ankle. “Obviously still a little bit of discomfort, but I’m happy to be out here for the most part [of practice]. I did 5-on-0, so that was good, and try to get better every day.”

Asked if he will play on Friday, Ball said, “I am not sure. [I'll] come in tomorrow and talk to the training staff and see what they have to say. Today was definitely a positive.”

Ball said pushing off his ankle is the most difficult part of his recovery. He said “other than that, not much pain, but we will see what happens tomorrow.”

Ball was asked if missing nearly 10 days of the preseason was a setback.

“I wouldn’t call it a setback,” Ball said. “I feel like I could go out there and play."

The No. 2 overall pick injured his left ankle when he landed on Denver point guard Emmanuel Mudiay’s foot in the first half of a preseason game on Oct. 2. While he played briefly in the second half of that game, Ball said his ankle, initially classified as a mildly sprained ankle, swelled up and that is why he has been out for nearly a week and a half.

“When we first hurt it, it didn’t swell up right there," Ball said. "I was pretty fine when I got to go out and play out there. That night when I woke up, it got fat, and that is what set me back a little bit.”

Coach Luke Walton said Ball got better as Thursday's practice went on.

“He did most of practice, he sat out the scrimmage at the end because we didn’t want him going full contact after he’d been up and down,” Walton said. “But originally we were just going to see how he looked, and he slowly got better and better, so he did most of the drills today.”

Walton said if Ball’s ankle does not worsen, the point guard will participate in Friday’s shootaround.

“As long as it’s not worse, absolutely,” Walton said. “Because shootaround we don’t do any contact stuff. It’s all skill and 5-on-0 and repetition, so as long as it doesn’t blow up or get any worse, he’ll be full-go in shootaround.”

Ball went through individual workouts with assistant coach Miles Simon the past couple of days to test the ankle.

“Just making sure the day after [those workouts] nothing was wrong with it, and nothing has been wrong with it so just take a step forward finally,” Ball said.