The Chicago Bulls provided an update on point guard Lonzo Ball on Wednesday, and it wasn’t a good one for the team or fans who were hoping to see their starting floor general hit the court on opening night.
Ball will be undergoing an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee on Wednesday, September 28 in Los Angeles, according to the Bulls. He’ll be reevaluated by the club’s medical staff in four to six weeks.
The 24-year-old Ball has been out of commission since a mid-January loss to the Golden State Warriors when he suffered a torn meniscus. Days later, it was announced that he would be going under the knife, after which he’d be out for six to eight weeks. However, the baller continued to experience pain in his knee and was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Given the manner in which Ball’s injury negatively impacted the Bulls’ 2021-22 campaign, it’s hard to feel optimistic about what’s to come for Chicago. That said, the team may be in a better position to cope with his loss this time around, at least in the short term.
The Bulls Have Improved Backcourt Depth
The Bulls were in a bad way when Ball went down last season. Thanks to a cheap shot by Grayson Allen, Alex Caruso was dealing with a fractured wrist at the time, too. And while there was a level of hype or goodwill surrounding Ayo Dosunmu, the homegrown guard was still just a rookie with no frame of reference for an NBA playoff push.
Ball missing extended time once again this season is definitely a gut punch. At the same time, though, the Bulls may be in a better position to absorb the latest big blow.
For his part, Dosunmu performed admirably after getting inserted into Billy Donovan’s starting five down the stretch. In 40 games as a first-teamer, the youngster averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest. Those numbers didn’t always translate into a positive impact on the scoreboard, though.
Now, however, he has a whole year plus a playoff series under his belt, better familiarity with the expanded role and his own, natural development curve to lean on.
Meanwhile, Caruso looks to be ready to roll health-wise and he, too, has shown that he can produce with increased minutes. The 28-year-old set new career highs in assists (4.0 per game), rebounds (3.6) and steals (1.7) while playing 28 minutes per night last season.
His defensive prowess could be especially important, as Ball was the one who spearheaded the effort on that end before he got hurt.
Finally, former All-Star Goran Dragic will be on the bench this time around and he’s fresh off an impressive run with Slovenia at EuroBasket. Over seven tournament games, the 36-year-old put up a 15-4-4 line and connected on 53.8% of his field-goal attempts.
Coby White Not an Option to Absorb PG Minutes?
One player who probably won’t be taking the reins as floor general is former No. 7 pick Coby White, whose name has been bandied about in trade chatter and who has yet to receive an extension from the team that drafted him.
In conversation with Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, a rival executive opined that the time White has spent at point guard over the last few years has probably negatively impacted the way in which he’s perceived around the league.
“He’s not going to be your starting point guard. It probably hurt his reputation, that he was not a point guard, by putting him in that spot,” the exec said. “You’ve got to get him to the right role, a scorer off the bench who can pass a little bit. He will get his reputation back when that happens.”