Ball back in practice, lifts Lakers’ spirits

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has been cleared to return to practice and that means something to his coach and teammates.

“Whether he’s making shots or not, the way he plays the game of basketball makes us a better team,” Lakers coach Luke Walton told reporters. “Zo’s someone that we believe makes big plays, makes winning plays, whether it’s a steal or throw ahead to end the run — whatever it is — he’s constantly making those throughout a game.”

Ball has missed the previous five games with a sprained left shoulder. The No. 2 overall pick and point guard is averaging 10.0 points, 7. 1 assists and 6.9 rebounds.

He is listed as question for the Lakers’ game Wednesday vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“Any time you have your starting point guard it always helps,” Lakers veteran Corey Brewer told reporters. “Lonzo’s big for us so hopefully he gets back out there and we can get this thing turned around.”

Center Brook Lopez, who has missed eight games with a sprained ankle, has also been cleared to practice. He is also questionable for Wednesday.

The Lakers (11-25) have lost seven straight and are in last place in the Western Conference standings.