Bulls Have ‘More Concerns’ About Lonzo Ball’s Recovery, Insider Says

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

Getty Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls’ injury woes continue to fester.

They have lost two-time All-Star Zach LaVine and former No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams for the season, and veteran Torrey Craig has missed 25 of the last 31 games.

What’s more, they entered the season without intended starting point guard Lonzo Ball as he continues his recovery from a knee injury suffered in January 2022. Now more than two years removed from that injury, Ball’s progress – or lack thereof – is a cause for growing concern.

“A source told the Sun-Times … that the Bulls were having even more concerns about Ball’s progress in his left knee rehabilitation,” the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley reported on February 28. “The hope was Ball would start sprinting in January, and with March just days away, that still hasn’t happened.”

Ball underwent his third surgery in less than two years in a Bulls uniform in March 2023.

Bulls HC Billy Donovan: Lonzo Ball ‘Feels Better’

At last check, Head Coach Billy Donovan said Ball was progressing well in his recovery. He added that he believed the pain the Ball experienced earlier in his recovery was “eliminated”.

“I don’t know if he’s stuck,” Donovan said about this latest development, per Cowley. “He is doing some shooting, some running, some jumping. He hasn’t done any sprinting yet, that I know.
“I don’t want to say it’s a holdup, but that’s where they want to get him to. In terms of what he’s doing, he feels better.”

Cowley notes Donovan said the organization is not beholden to any benchmarks for Ball.

He is in the third year of a four-year, $80 million contract and has only played 35 games for the franchise. He has a $21.4 million player option for next season. But the Bulls could have that wiped out if he cannot return to the court.

The NBA already granted their request for a disabled player exception worth $10.2 million for this season because Ball is unable to play.

Bulls Make Dubious NBA History: ‘Total Outlier’

It’s always notable when a team makes history in the NBA, though some times are surely more welcomed than others, as the Bulls recently learned.

Their 6.9% mark from beyond the arc in their 105-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons is the lowest clip for any team in NBA history attempting at least 28 threes in a game, per Stathead. After the game, many on the losing side dismissed the showing as an aberration.

“It’s a total outlier game in terms of that kind of shooting, especially from these guys,” Donovan told reporters on February 28. “We still had opportunities to overcome it. I’ve always talked about the things we can control. And I did think to a certain extent, the frustration got in a little bit.”

The Bulls’ starting backcourt of Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White combined to go 6-for-28 in the contest.

“I wouldn’t say we were pressing. I actually was laughing” Dosunmu said during his media availability. “Because when you look at it, what were we 2-for-30? That’s just crazy. What are the odds of that happening? But you take it. It’s the beauty of basketball.

“It was kind of amusing seeing the great looks we got that didn’t fall.”

“I think we all got good looks,” White said, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson. “I don’t feel like we pressed. It just wasn’t our night shooting the ball.”