NBA notebook: Lakers PG Ball expects to return after All-Star break


Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball said Wednesday he expects to return from a sprained left MCL in the first game after the All-Star break.

Ball missed his 14th consecutive game on Wednesday night at the New Orleans Pelicans. He also will miss Thursday's game at the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Ball, who sustained his injury on Jan. 13 against the Dallas Mavericks, also will not play in Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge game. He plans to use the extra week during the All-Star break to work out any lingering discomfort in the knee.

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"I practiced yesterday, (and) it's at a point where I can play but it still hurts a little bit," Ball said after the team's shootaround Wednesday, per ESPN. "So they want to just get that out and take this week and we are playing good right now, so no need to rush it."

--Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox will replace the injured Ball on the U.S. Team in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the NBA announced.

The 20-year-old Fox, the fifth pick in the 2017 draft, is averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 assists in 27.2 minutes while starting 37 of 49 games in his rookie season. His selection gives the Kings three players in the Rising Stars, with second-year guard Buddy Hield (Bahamas) and rookie guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) representing the World Team.

The Rising Stars Challenge is an annual showcase of premier young talent at NBA All-Star weekend. For the fourth consecutive year, the game features 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the U.S. against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world.

--Injured point guard John Wall and center Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards met last week in an attempt to improve their salty relationship.

According to reports, the players are still on thin ice with one another.

Here's where things became frosty for Wall: In the aftermath a 122-119 win over the Eastern Conference front-running Toronto Raptors on Feb. 1, the third Washington win in a row with Wall sidelined due to knee surgery, Gortat tweeted: "Unbelievable win tonight ! Great "team" victory!"

Wall, who is out at least another month, responded to the perceived dig: "It was more just shock to hear it from him, understanding he gets the most assists from me and the most spoon-fed baskets ever," Wall said.

--Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey officially announced the signing of veteran guard/forward Joe Johnson in a press release.

According to multiple reports, the seven-time All-Star will be in uniform and available to play against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

The Kings agreed to a buyout with the 17th-year veteran on Sunday following a three-team deal before the Feb. 8 trade deadline that delivered Johnson from the Utah Jazz. Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

--The Cleveland Cavaliers' revamped roster reportedly almost included a trade for big man DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the reason the Cavaliers didn't land Jordan at last week's trade deadline was the Clippers did not want to take on Iman Shumpert's salary in return. The deal never materialized as the Cavs instead acquired Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., George Hill and Rodney Hood in two significant trades.

According to Wednesday's report, Cleveland general manager Koby Altman had approval from ownership to send a package in exchange for Jordan that included Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Shumpert and the Cavs' 2018 first-round pick. Clippers general manager Michael Winger explained to Altman that he did not want another shooting guard, and he hoped to find a third team that would take Shumpert and his $21 million contract but a third team never materialized and the trade talks broke down.

--The Golden State Warriors will be without Patrick McCaw for at least the next month.

The second-year guard suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left wrist in Monday night's 129-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns, the team announced. According to the team's Twitter account, McCaw will sport a cast for the next 10 days and will be reevaluated in four weeks.

The 6-foot-7 McCaw is averaging 3.7 points in 15.6 minutes per game this season as a deep rotation player. McCaw, 22, was originally chosen by the Warriors in the second round (38th overall pick) in the 2016 draft.

--Field Level Media

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