After taking the day off on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers met for practice on Monday to gear up for their 2017-18 NBA regular season opener on Thursday.
The moment the practice facility doors opened to external eyes, rookie Lonzo Ball appeared on the court playing in a full court scrimmage and seemingly displayed no signs of an ankle injury that had forced the 19-year-old to miss the final two weeks of preseason.
"I'm playing for sure," Ball said with clear confidence regarding his involvement in Thursday's season opener.
Ball admitted that he was rusty from the time on the sidelines and his coach, Luke Walton, echoed that same sentiment. Both referenced the point guard's passing being a bit off the mark. However, the superstar kid ended his practice with a half-court shooting content, which he won, and sounded downright giddy about his first NBA regular season game.
"I'll be ready for Thursday," Ball said after admitting his rusty return to the practice court.
Walton also looked relieved to have his starting point guard back, but the coach offered a balanced view of his rookie's return on Monday: "Lonzo showed why he's going to be really good, but he also showed that he’s been out for a couple weeks with some of the turnovers he had."
Ball and the Lakers don't have too much time to get their house in order, as the team only has two more practices, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and one final shootaround session on Thursday before the lights come up on the Lakers' 2017-18 season and Ball's NBA career.
For Ball and the Lakers' sake, hopefully, that rust falls off sooner rather than later.
Notes: Julius Randle did limited work, mainly getting shots up. The 22-year-old did not take part in the scrimmage. Randle suffered back spasms during Friday's preseason finale. Rookie Josh Hart strained his Achilles during Monday's practice and was scheduled to go for an MRI later on Monday afternoon. Andrew Bogut practiced but did not take part in the scrimmage. Walton said that the Australian big man's availability is still up in the air for Thursday's season opener.