Lonzo Ball's NBA career has been full of ups and downs and he hasn't even played his first regular-season game yet.
This year's No. 2 overall pick dominated the NBA Summer League, taking home MVP honors, but he also missed the final game with an injury.
Now, as the preseason has gotten underway, Ball could end up missing more time, which would hurt his development as a potential face of the Los Angeles Lakers' franchise.
According to ESPN.com, Lakers coach Luke Walton said there's a chance Ball could miss the rest of the preseason after suffering a sprained ankle against the Denver Nuggets:
"I hope not, but yeah, that's a possibility," Walton said 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."
That's the smart approach, as it's not worth it to risk Ball's health during meaningless preseason games.
However, Walton added that, while he assumes Ball will be ready to play for the regular-season opener, he's not going to rush his young point guard if he's not ready.
"If he is not ready, he won't [play]," Walton said of the season opener. "Again, it is day to day so I assume he will be back by then. If he's not ready to play basketball and really cut and move and do everything that you need that ankle you need it to do for you, we are not going to play him."
"It's just still sore. He said he can run straight and feels no pain, but it's going side to side that really gets him."
The Lakers are probably a year away from competing for a playoff spot anyway, so it makes sense that they'd take it slow with Ball this year.
Walton said Ball is going to be given plenty of medical attention over the coming days and wouldn't return to the court until he was absolutely ready:
"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."
Coming off a year in which they finished with the NBA's third-worst record, the Lakers have a lot riding on Ball this year. However, getting him healthy is their biggest priority right now.