Lonzo Ball’s season may be over before it even begins.
On Wednesday night’s NBA Countdown, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said There are “no guarantees” he will play at all this season, adding that the Bulls point guard is still in “some pain” while rehabbing from his left knee injury.
“I think, hopefully, by the All-Star break in mid-February, they’ll get a feel for whether or not Lonzo Ball is ready to come back and play in Chicago,” Wojnarowski said. “A lot could depend on where the bullpen is in the standings?”
The Bulls fell to 11-16 after Wednesday night’s overtime loss to the Knicks and are 1.5 games behind the Raptors for the final game in the East.
Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 14 last season when he was diagnosed with a minor meniscus tear and bone bruise. Two weeks later, the 25-year-old player underwent surgery arthroscopic surgery and was originally expected to miss six to eight weeks.
In March, seven weeks after surgery, “Bulls” coach Billy Donovan said about it Ball “didn’t respond” in rehab and experienced discomfort in his knee due to the bone injury.
“He didn’t back down,” Donovan said. “He just didn’t go far enough to do the things he needed to do to play.”
After a series of failures, Ball was excluded In April for the rest of the 2021-22 season, the team said he was still dealing with pain with high levels of physical activity.
The ball went through another shot arthroscopic debridement surgery in his left knee in September, with a four- to six-week reevaluation timeline. Later that month, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported There was optimism that Ball could return this season after successful surgery.
“Actually, I can’t run. I can’t run or jump,” Ball said before his second arthroscopic surgery. “There’s a range of 30 to 60 degrees when my knee is bent where I have no strength and can’t hold myself up. Until I can do things I can’t play.
“I did rehab and it was getting better, but I couldn’t get out there and run or jump at full speed. So, the operation is the next step.”
Ball, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, underwent a separate arthroscopic procedure July 2018 to address another small meniscus tear in the same knee.
Ball played 35 games last season, marking his first campaign with the Bulls after signing a four-year, $72 million contract. Before the injury, he averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game.