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The rookie sensation missed his second straight preseason game Monday with a sprained left ankle, and because of his difficulty with jumping and moving side to side, he’s in danger of missing the remainder of the preseason.
Although Lakers coach Luke Walton stopped short of declaring that the No. 2 overall pick would miss the rest of the preseason by saying Ball is considered “day-to-day,” it’s not hard to read between the lines after he added that “I assume he will be back” in time for the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 19.
“I hope not, but yeah, that’s a possibility,” Walton told ESPN.com’s Ohm Youngmisuk when asked if Ball could miss the rest of the preseason. “It is different with every player. He is new to the team, so we’ve got to see how long these types of injuries take him to come back from. We’d like to have him back, but again, we are not going to rush him back just to try to get him out there.”
According to Walton, Ball tried to give it a go in practice this past Saturday, but the pain put an end to that idea pretty quickly.
“Even before practice he was working with [assistant coach Miles Simon] and he was just limping around,” Walton said. “It made no sense to try to have him play. If you can’t run and jump, there’s no reason to fight through that. We are just going to keep giving him treatment, and he will be day to day.”
The former UCLA standout injured his ankle last week after landing on Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay’s foot after blocking a shot in the waning moments of the first half.
Lakers Make Another Front-Office Move
The Lakers aren’t just rebuilding the team it puts on the floor, they’re rebuilding the front office, too.
First, owner Jeanie Buss parted ways with brother and vice president of basketball operations Jim and longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak before bringing in Magic Johnson as the president of basketball operations and Kobe Bryant‘s former agent, Rob Pelinka, as the new GM.
This past Friday, the Lakers made another move in its quest for a team makeover.
ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe was the first to report that the Lakers were looking to hire Jason Rosenfield as director of basketball analytics and the team made it official last week.
Zach Lowe @ZachLowe_NBA
The Lakers are hiring Jason Rosenfeld, the NBA’s director of basketball analytics, to fill the same role in L.A., sources say.
The team released an official statement after the move, giving some insight on Rosenfeld’s new role: “Rosenfeld and his basketball analytics department will work closely with the basketball operations staff, as well as the coaching and training staffs, to incorporate statistical analysis and quantitative strategy into the day-to-day operations of each front office department.”
The Lakers’ analytics department took some heat in the past for falling short compared to other organizations in that area, so the team hopes Rosenfeld will help close that gap.
In addition to Rosenfeld, the Lakers also hired former player Antawn Jamison to their scouting department.