Lonzo Ball isn’t showing any effects of the knee injury that sidelined him for most of the summer, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Bell had surgery in July to fix a torn left meniscus, but he has been operating at full speed in training camp, impressing new teammate LeBron James.
“I didn’t know he was gonna be full go so fast,” James said. “He’s been going through live drills the last 2½ days. His bounce is there. His speed is there.”
Ball tried to address his knee problem with platelet-rich plasma injections early in the offseason before deciding surgery was necessary. His summer was filled with weight training and film sessions, and he wasn’t cleared for a full-contact practice until Thursday. Coach Luke Walton said he was “shocked” by Ball’s progress, but still plans to be careful with the second-year point guard.
“We’re gonna be patient,” Walton said. “No need to rush it right now. We’ll put minutes restrictions on him as he starts coming back in the preseason. And everything will be, ‘How do you feel?’ the next day, ‘How do you feel?’ that night. As long we keep checking those off and he’s fine, the minutes restrictions will go up and up until we decide to get rid of it altogether.”
There’s more news from L.A.:
- Kyle Kuzma added weight over the summer and will be used at center occasionally in small-ball lineups, Youngmisuk adds in a separate story. Kuzma hasn’t played center since high school, but he’s confident he can make it work. “You got to be the anchor of the defense, that five position calls out pick-and-rolls, screens,” Kuzma said. “The five is usually around the rim so you see, you know, everything in that backcourt, everything. So watching film has really helped in that area of trying to be that type of anchor when I am playing the five.”
- The plan to keep James on a limited schedule during the preseason may be a mistake, suggests Martin Rogers of USA Today. At 33, James may want to conserve his energy for the regular season, Rogers writes, but he also needs game conditions to create chemistry with his new teammates.
- The Lakers feel like they might have gotten another “steal of the draft” in second-rounder Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, relays Mike Trudell of NBA.com. Those were the words used at media day by veteran teammate Alex Caruso, who said the Lakers may have found another gem, just as they did with Kuzma last year.