Coach Luke Walton said Ball got better as Thursday's practice went on. "The good thing for us is we do have a week from tomorrow's game to the (regular) season".
"That night when I woke up, it got fat", Ball said. He did everything but participate in the five-on-five scrimmage that closed practice. On Thursday, Ball finally returned to the practice court. "I'm sure he's going to be sore later today".
Walton said Ball's injury is not worse than previously thought and that there has been no setback. He said "other than that, not much pain, but we will see what happens tomorrow". 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. 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 almost a week and a half.
Fortunately for the Lakers, Ball took a key step at Thursday's practice and seemed to be enjoying himself, even if he ended up on the wrong end of a half-court shooting competition with Kyle Kuzma. "It made no sense to try to have him play. Just little movements here and there so it really didn't affect me the next day and [I] came back and got my treatment and everything was cool".
If Ball does not play Friday against the Clippers, he will have almost a week to get ready for the team's regular-season opener on October 19, against Blake Griffin and the Clippers. If Ball's ankle doesn't improve enough by the opener, however, the Lakers will play it safe.
In particular, Walton said the team missed Ball's defining trait: "the ability to make everyone on the court a threat at all times".
He averaged 12.7 points and 7.3 rebounds with the then-Defenders last season, and contributed 7.9 points and 3.9 rebounds to the Lakers' summer league entry that won the tournament championship in Las Vegas in July.
With Wear on board, the Lakers' roster stands at 19 players.