Although the news had come to be expected by many, it’s still fair to say that the Chicago Bulls (and their fans) were on the receiving end of a legitimate gut punch Thursday on the injury front. Here’s what ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported, citing league sources:
“There is a growing possibility that Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will need a third surgical procedure on his left knee that likely would require another six months of recovery and rehabilitation.”
Ball had already been ruled out for the remainder of 2022-23, of course. But given the promise the team showed when he was in the mix last season, some were holding out hope that he could contribute to a winning cause in 2023-24 after another full offseason to get himself back up to speed.
Now, though, Chicago faces the prospect of lugging $42 million worth of dead weight around for the next two years. At least, that’s the feeling over on the Bulls Subreddit.
Bulls Fans Make Grim Predictions on Where Lonzo Ball’s Career Might Be Heading
There was a strange sense of finality in the commentary on Ball’s potential surgery among fans, as if the baller’s career had officially ended already. Given the growing mystery and level of concern surrounding the state of his knee, though, one could forgive Bulls Nation for getting Brandon Roy vibes.
“We live in a world where football players tear ACLs and are back the same year like nothing happened. This dude still can’t walk without pain after two procedures and doctors are saying they don’t know what’s wrong. Lonzo is done. It sucks, but it’s reality,” one comment read.
“Constant knee surgeries [are] going to lead to indefinite pain and discomfort when he’s older. His reinjury risk is high rn. There’s no reason at this point. He’s made plenty money and the Ball family name alone will give him other avenues to make money,” wrote another pessimistic supporter.
Others, meanwhile, looked at the Ball news as something that could force chief decision-makers Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley to turn the page and, hopefully, get the team out of the league’s crushing middle ground.
“Awful news but unsurprising. On a positive note, this may force the FO to stop treating him as a savior and make more moves to improve the roster,” wrote one fan.
“We have to treat our current lineup + Javonte [Green] as the best and healthiest lineup with have. At this point, Zo coming back is a bonus, unfortunately,” commented another supporter. “[The front office] should look at the next offseason as if we didn’t have Lonzo, because well… that’s practically the truth,” opined another.
Ball & the Bulls Are Still Exploring Their Options
It had been noted by multiple people around the team recently that Ball still isn’t running or even moving around properly. And, late last month, Ball’s former teammate Tristan Thompson went so far as to say that the point guard had seen doctors all over the country and left them baffled by his injury.
Nevertheless, the player, his team and his representation all seem to be holding out hope that the third surgery can be avoided.
Added Woj: “The Bulls and Ball’s representatives with Klutch Sports are working together and consulting with specialists before a final decision on surgery is made, sources said, but a procedure sometime this month would further delay the possibility of Ball ramping up for a return next season.”
The 25-year-old Ball has appeared in just 35 games for Chicago since joining the club in 2021, averaging 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists nightly and shooting 42.3% from deep.