NBA Rumor: Lonzo Ball Injury

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Lonzo Ball, along with multiple teammates, will miss the New Orleans Pelicans’ regular season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday evening. Ball will miss the game with a right thumb sprain, the third straight game he’ll miss to end the season. Along with Ball, Steven Adams (right MTP sprain), Josh Hart (right thumb surgery), Brandon Ingram (left ankle sprain) and Zion Williamson (left hand fracture) all will be out as well on the night. It will be the third straight game that group of five players will miss with the Pelicans losing each of those games.

On the court, Ball has been encouraged by what he’s seen over multiple weeks at New Orleans’ voluntary workouts, which have been regularly attended by 15-plus players. “I think we have a chance (to be good). We have a lot of talent. We have a new team, where people have got to get to know each other, so we’ve got to start a little earlier,” Ball said, referring to one reason Pelicans players were motivated to participate. Ball missed 35 games last season due to injury, but said Tuesday of his health, “I’m good. Doing everything, 5-on-5, full-contact. I’m good.”

However, that doesn’t mean Ball is just sitting around and waiting to be healthy again. According to JaVale McGee, Ball has been in the gym every day trying to work his way back to full strength (via FS1’s “The Herd”): When people get injured they tend to go down in spirit but he’s had a great spirit this whole time he’s been injured. He’s been there every day working in the weight room, and this is coming from behind-the-scenes that sees it all. He’s training. He hasn’t missed a training session. You get fined for things like that and people are really paying attention to that, but he hasn’t missed any of that since I’ve been there, so it’s not like he’s not trying to get healthy. He just had a bad injury and it’s been lingering. That’s all it is.

The Lakers found out about Ball’s situation when Lonzo Ball called General Manager Rob Pelinka, and the organization informed him that they would not allow it and could void his contract if he went through with the procedure, sources said. The Lakers then arranged transportation to bring Ball home, sources said. This could have been a disastrous moment for the Lakers, with a core player potentially undergoing a procedure that could have blindsided the organization. But Johnson and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka communicated with those around Lonzo, working with his then-agent Harrison Gaines to squash the procedure and bring him back to Los Angeles, sources around the team with knowledge of the situation said. Gaines declined to comment when reached by phone.

He spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since January and his recent shutdown for the remainder of the season. Ball is ready. “I’m very, very motivated,” Ball told The Athletic. “I want to be the best I can be. I’m looking forward to this summer. I don’t look at it as added pressure, because I haven’t had a full summer yet to dedicate to myself. I have to keep working on my craft. I’m just happy that I’m going to be healthy. “It’s been frustrating. This is the second year that this has happened. But I have to stay positive, stay motivated.”
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