Lonzo Ball’s sprained ankle came at the worst time for the Los Angeles Lakers who are still without LeBron James. It also came at the worst time for Ball who had started to string together a few good games in a row and take the next step into becoming a valuable player on the court.
The Lakers have lost both games since Ball was injured against the Houston Rockets and it’s undeniably been tough for the Lakers point guard. Head coach Luke Walton discussed how the Lakers are approaching helping Ball as he rehabs on the Official Lakers Podcast.
“Being hurt can be a very dark, depressing place and you tend to isolate. I think it is very important and healthy for the guys to be around their teammates during those times. To me that kind of falls in to the category of what kind of culture a team has, what kind of culture an organization has. With us, and the players we’ve had and what we’ve built here, the vets that are in now, they won’t let him just sit around and not do anything. When he’s in there getting treatment, they’ll be on him, there will be trash talking happening, there will be advice being given.”
“We’ll make sure that he’s not just kind of sitting off by himself during this whole thing.”
Mental health is something that has become more of a talking point in the NBA since last year but it’s still mostly viewed as a taboo among athletes. It’s good to see Walton (who has spoken candidly about his own mental health during extended injuries) take the initiative and encourage his players to help Lonzo deal with something that can be very difficult to handle alone.