Bulls Star’s Camp ‘Expressing Some Confidence’ on Recovery: Insider

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

Getty Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls warms up

Are the Chicago Bulls downplaying starting point guard Lonzo Ball’s recovery? Ball hasn’t been seen in a game since January 14 when he suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus. The bruise remains an issue even after he had surgery to repair the tear.

This offseason, the Bulls have banked heavily on the improvement of players such as Coby White and Patrick Williams.

Still, a lot is riding on Ball, even with the addition of veteran point guard Goran Dragic.

But there may be more reason for optimism than the team is willing to let on, perhaps in an effort to quell expectations as such a key cog works his way back. At least, that is the scenario presented by one NBA insider.


‘Purely Speculating’

ESPN’s Jamal Collier joined NBA Today on August 8 to share an update on the still cloudy status of Ball. Last we heard, Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas admitted during summer league that Ball was progressing, though, not at the pace they would like.

Collier initially reminds everyone how we got to this point.

“They’ve been very vague about Lonzo’s exact status. Remember, he had an injury in January, the meniscus injury, that they said…4-to-6 weeks was the initial timeline. He never played again. Every time they tried to ramp him up and really get him going into action he had a bit of a setback.”


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Ball acknowledged during his exit interview that he had been at a standstill in his recovery. Later, during a summer league appearance, he coyly said he was good and ran away from reporters.

His father, LaVar Ball said via ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan that his son would be ready to go.

But the most the Bulls have expressed has been “hope” that one of the best 3-&-D players in the league would be able to suit up by the start of the season.

Their moves this offseason – including drafting Dalen Terry and holding on to White in addition to Dragic – sounded alarms across Bulls Nation that they were preparing to at least start the season without Ball.


Collier’s Update Brightens

“I talked to somebody in Lonzo’s camp that’s expressing some confidence that he’ll be ready to go for the start of the season.”

It is fairly standard for a player’s camp to express optimism while a front office takes the more cautious approach. But Collier, who used to cover the Bulls for the Chicago Tribune, added his own speculative take.

He was clear that it was just his read on what could be taking place with such an important player.

“I could see them slow-playing Lonzo a little bit to make sure he’s 100% and really ready to go because you saw how the way their season changed in January once he got hurt. And really if they didn’t have both him and [Alex] Caruso on the floor, they just didn’t have a chance to defend anybody out there. So, Lonzo’s really important to this team, they’ve got to make sure he’s at 100%.”


Ball’s Health is Bulls’ Biggest Problem

The Bulls were barely above .500 in games without Ball last season. Sure, there were other absences in some of those games including Caruso as Collier mentioned as well as Patrick Williams.

Ball ranked third among Bulls to play at least 1000 non-garbage-time minutes in efficiency differential, per Cleaning the Glass, behind only Caruso and DeMar DeRozan.


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Getting him back on the floor would indeed seem to be the most important thing for Chicago.

If Collier is on to something, we may be closer to that being a reality than most have speculated to this point.

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