NBA: Lakers rookie Ball to return after All-Star break

Lonzo Ball is close to returning in a boost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball is nearing his return.

Ball will miss his 14th straight game on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans but "definitely" expects to return from his left knee injury next Friday against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles' first game back from the All-Star break.

Ball, who will sit out the All-Star weekend's Rising Stars game scheduled for Friday, said he could play if his team were in the playoffs but instead will take the time to ensure he makes a full recovery rather than aggravate the injury further and risk missing more time.

"I didn't think it was going to be this serious, to be honest," Ball said last week.

"There was never a timeline for it. It was kind of just a thing that came up. I thought it was going to be dealt with quicker, but obviously my body didn't react to it that well. I should be back hopefully soon.

"It's pretty tough. This is the most games I've ever missed in my whole life. ... Just doing what I can to be a good team-mate and support them."

Ball, 20, is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds in 36 games this season.