One of the biggest stories coming into the 2017-18 NBA season will be this year's rookie class. It's headlined by the No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball who has generated more buzz than most of his fellow rookies. Ball is being expected to help reinvigorate the Lakers' franchise. He played in several exhibition games during the NBA preseason, but then started sitting out with a minor injury. That raised concerns over whether or not he'd play when the team starts their regular season. Here's the latest on Lonzo Ball's status for the Lakers' NBA season opener this Thursday.

Ball practiced Monday

According to ESPN, the Lakers' rookie was a participant in Monday's practice session with the team. That's good news for Lakers fans as Ball got hurt back on October 2nd. His minor ankle injury occurred against the Denver Nuggets at home, but the team was cautious and kept him out for the final four games of the NBA preseason.

In addition to being at practice, Lonzo Ball spoke with the media about his status. The former UCLA star said he plans to be on the court when the Lakers open their season this coming Thursday. Ball told reporters, "I'm playing. For sure."

That first game will be against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Ball will get a chance to shine but he'll be up against stars, including Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan of the Clips.

Lakers' season outlook

Despite all the hype surrounding Lonzo Ball and his father's continued predictions, this is a team that isn't expected to make too much noise or crack the Western Conference top eight. It would be a major surprise if the Los Angeles Lakers are contending with the bottom tier playoff teams close to April.

Those teams include the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, and even the Los Angeles Clippers.

However, the future looks quite promising in Los Angeles. This will be a season of growth for Lonzo Ball as well as fellow rookie star Kyle Kuzma. The team also has Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, but the offseason could make things really exciting.

Magic Johnson and the L.A. Lakers will likely look toward NBA free agency this summer to add some big name players to the roster. Rumored to be in the mix are OKC's Paul George and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James. If Ball impresses enough in his first season it could help make the case for current stars in the league to go to Los Angeles next season.