The Los Angeles Lakers have lost four of their last five games even with LeBron James returning from a groin strain injury and averaging a near triple-double.
While James has played well individually despite missing 17 games, the Lakers are still having trouble executing on both ends of the court, especially defensively.
One of the major reasons for this has been Lonzo Ball‘s absence. He has been missing from game action since suffering a Grade 3 ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets.
However, it appears that Ball is making progress from his injury, according to Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times:
Ball’s rehabilitation has been going well. He’s begun running on an underwater treadmill and is progressing toward running on an Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill.
This is obviously good news and the Lakers have sorely missed Ball on the court. The 21-year-old is arguably the team’s best defender when he is locked in, pressing opposing ballhandlers full-court while also using his quick hands to disrupt passing lanes.
Ball was injured in the middle of January and was originally projected to miss 4-6 weeks. With this latest update, it appears he is right on schedule and should return to the starting lineup either at the end of February or the beginning of March.
However, in the meantime, the Lakers will need to come together as a group and fix their issues on the defensive end. They will need to turn it around soon as time is running out for them to make the playoffs in the extremely competitive Western Conference.