Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball last took the court on Jan. 13 against the Dallas Mavericks. Now after more than a month-long absence due to a sprained MCL, Ball returns to the court tonight against the same team. However, Los Angeles will bring him along slowly and limit his minutes tonight.
While the number of minutes isn't known, it seems certain the rookie will play fewer than 25 minutes in tonight's game. Additionally, Ball will not play in Saturday's game against the Sacramento Kings. Fortunately, the back-to-back set won't occur again until March 13-14, so fantasy owners shouldn't fear a string of B2B sets that would hold him out for multiple games.
From an immediate fantasy perspective, season-long owners should start Ball but expect his numbers to be cut down out of the gate given the restriction of minutes. As for DFS owners, Ball is a player to avoid until we seen him playing a heavier workload of minutes and playing near 100 percent.
The team's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas, who will split some minutes with Ball and also play alongside him at times, will take away from some of the usage rates Ball saw this season. Though scoring isn't his primary focus to begin with, as evidenced by his 10.2 points, 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game averages this season.
One of the best threats to go off for a triple double, Ball's return will be a welcome one for fantasy owners. While it may take time for him to adjust with Thomas, the two should post some good numbers when they're healthy and effective in the second half of the season.