The Bulls might not get back Lonzo Ball this season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“There are no guarantees, I’m told, that he plays at all this season,” Wojnarowski told Malika Andrews on the December 14 episode of “NBA Countdown.” “He’s rehabbing that knee now; he still has some pain in it. … The hope is that, perhaps by the All-Star break in mid-February, they have a sense of whether Lonzo Ball is ready to come back and play for Chicago. A lot of that may depend on where are the Bulls in the standings.”
Ball Gets Updated Timeline
Wojnarowski’s update is less optimistic than the one delivered two days earlier by Bally Sports’ Brandon Robinson.
“I did run into Lonzo Ball at the United Center the other night, and he looks good both mentally and physically, and he shared with me that he’s just going through the rehab process,” Robinson said December 12 on Stadium Live. “There’s no new timetable for his return, but the thing that really stuck out to me was his just his level of calmness and his desire to want to come back when the time is right.
In September, Ball underwent his second procedure in nine months to alleviate the pain that persisted following a procedure to repair his torn meniscus. The first surgery resulted in loose bodies that caused nerve damage, according to his father, Lavar Ball. He hasn’t played since January 2022.
Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has been consistent in saying Ball’s progress was slow. He also acknowledged before the season that he had to operate as though he would not have Ball at his disposal at all this year, which is looking more like a possibility.
Bulls Being Watched
Against the Knicks on December 14, the Bulls fell to 0-3 in overtime games this season. They are now 11-16 and in 11th place in the muddled Eastern Conference, though they are just 1.5 games back of a spot in the play-in tournament.
“There’s going to certainly be some decisions to be made for this Bulls team at the trade deadline if they don’t improve and they take a look at this core,” Wojnarowski said.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been keeping tabs on Bulls stars DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic while Chicago has given the impression that Zach LaVine remains off-limits in trade talks, per an earlier report from Wojnarowski.
How much any of that changes and how quickly remains to be seen.
But much of their argument for continued patience has revolved around the hope that Ball can return this season, though they may have to come to grips with the possibility that they might not get Ball still for some time to come. The fan base could lose patience without the veil of hope that this team can get back to full strength, like it was when it led Eastern Conference upon returning from the All-Star break last year.