Bulls Get ‘Disturbing’ Update on PG Lonzo Ball: Report

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

Getty Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls watches action.

The Chicago Bulls are still concerned with point guard Lonzo Ball’s surgically repaired knee, per a report from ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan. Chicago has not played since April 27 after losing their first-round playoff matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ball has not played since January 14, though, as what was once deemed a bone bruise turned into a torn meniscus that required surgery. Chicago was 27-13 and sitting in first place in the East at the time.

They went 19-23 after Ball went down including going 8-15 following the All-Star break.

Now, there is enough concern within the organization to warrant a mention from Kaplan on the May 16 “Kap & J-Hood” on 670 The Score in Chicago.

‘They Don’t Know’

That Ball didn’t return for the regular season was disappointing enough. Missing him throughout the postseason was brutal. But hope remained that it was just a matter of getting healthy over the offseason.

A discussion about things the Bulls lack compared to the remaining playoff teams led to Kaplan’s outlook from his sources.

“Hopefully Lonzo…I heard some disturbing news over the weekend about his knee. They don’t know how they’re going to get this right.”

Kaplan returned the following segment to go deeper into the concerns over Ball’s health and the impact that it will have this summer.

“If they were starting the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, he could not play. They are having real concerns of why he still has pain any time he tries to ramp it up. And, if he can’t ramp it up in practices or in workouts to get himself where he needs to be, then how…is he going to be able to be healthy for an 82-game season?”

Ball said during his exit interview that he was at a standstill in his rehab process.

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Ball noted that he was not sure if another surgery would be required but would be visiting a specialist adding that, because it is the second time he has torn the meniscus, it “needs to be addressed” this offseason.

Bulls Struggled without Ball

That paints a much bleaker picture than the one Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas had hoped for ahead of a critical offseason with LaVine an unrestricted free agent and requiring knee surgery as well.

Kaplan said this could “color” the Bulls’ approach.

“Do they re-sign Zach [LaVine]? Do they not re-sign him? Do they trade [Nikola Vucevic]? Well…it all falls by the wayside if you don’t have a point guard…And you committed $80 million to this guy. Now he hurts his knee. So there is a lot of soul-searching going on right now, and medical tests and everything, to make sure that they can get this guy right by October. They don’t know.”

The Bulls acquired Ball in a sign-and-trade last offseason as part of their roster overhaul. He is under contract through 2025 with a player option for the final year, per Spotrac.com. Their net rating went from plus-2.7 with Ball healthy to minus-3.6 without him, per NBA.com.

Players spoke of his impact when on the floor during the regular season and DeMar DeRozan said Ball helped a lot with his play.

Kaplan expressed similar sentiments in the segment.

“If he’s healthy and he’s playing, he takes the ball out of the hands of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine which allows them to do what they do rather than having to be facilitators that slows everything down, their pace, everything.”

Bulls at a ‘Crossroads’

Include their offseason under “everything” with Kaplan’s co-host Jonathan Hood noting the Bulls still had to improve the roster aside from addressing Ball.

There was a wild trade proposal in which the Bulls sent LaVine to the Los Angeles Lakers (at LaVine’s hypothetical request) in a sign-and-trade in exchange for Russell Westbrook or, more likely if you’re the Bulls, Anthony Davis.

The crux of the deal, though, was that the Bulls could be “at a crossroads due to the way their roster is constructed. Both Ball and DeRozan felt that there was no reason they couldn’t “run it back” with the same core.

That, though, was largely dependent on clean bills of health for Ball and LaVine.

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