Insider Pushes Back on Recent Report Regarding Bulls’ Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls

Getty Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls reacts

Will he or won’t he? That has been the build-up, break-down tone of updates surrounding Chicago Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball. At first, Ball was supposed to be out “6-to-8” weeks following surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Here we are some eight months later – and with training camp right around the corner – and Ball’s status remains as vague as ever.

That was until ESPN’s Jamal Collier reported that Ball is “expected” to miss camp. He added that there was doubt about the sixth-year guard’s availability to begin the regular season. Collier had previously reported that there was “some confidence” coming from Ball’s camp, though, he did say he could see the Bulls “slow playing” the point guard’s return.

A new update calls his latest report’s possible timeline into question.

Don’t Rule Ball Out of Camp

Collier’s report followed a more positive sounding one from NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson who reported that he was hearing “way more positive than negative” surrounding the Bulls’ injured starter. He qualified those statements by saying that he was not definitively saying Ball would play a full season or that he would even be ready for the regular-season opener.

Despite Collier’s reports “contradicting” his from just days earlier, Johnson said it is still “a bit premature” to completely rule Ball out of all of training camp.

“The reason I portrayed…some optimism,” Johnson explained during the “Bulls Talk Podcast” on September 6, “is I had heard that some of his workouts were progressing in a linear fashion, without any stops. When I checked in off this report what I was told is…nothing new has developed. What has happened is he just doesn’t have answers for why he’s feeling the pain occasionally and why it flares up. So that’s why it’s so mystifying is that they feel like…the meniscus surgery was a success…And so it’s just he’s not able to get answers despite visiting specialists, etc.”

Johnson did say that several players including Ball was expected back in Chicago in the coming days ahead of training camp which could lead to an official update.

He also pointed out that while the Bulls’ offseason has aligned with Ball’s murky status he believes many if not all of the moves would have been made regardless given the state of the rest of the roster.

Bulls Taking ‘Long View’ with Ball

Johnson previously supported his earlier reporting saying that some of the internal optimism within the organization stemmed from their choosing to take a long view with Ball “regardless” of his knee.

They know they need him at the end of the season more than the beginning and are not concerned with the structure of the knee at this point.

“The Bulls, who have worked in concert with Ball’s specialists this offseason, remain confident that Ball will continue to progress. The knee, which also underwent a procedure in 2018 when Ball played for the Los Angeles Lakers, is reportedly structurally sound. It’s the bone bruise that predated the January meniscus tear that has bedeviled Ball throughout his rehabilitation.”

Despite Johnson’s assertion that the Bulls went about the offseason as planned, he does concede that things fell into place nicely.

Even if it’s still just short of having Ball on the floor.

Bulls ‘Need’ Ball on the Floor

The Bulls held on to Coby White while drafting Dalen Terry and signing Goran Dragic to be better prepared to replace much of the impact Ball has in different phases of the game.

“It’s probably a good thing all these moves have been made – or not been made in Coby’s case – because you now have, I think, the kind of backcourt depth that can withstand the absence of Lonzo if that’s what this leads to. But nobody can, obviously, replicate what Lonzo Ball brings.”

Aside from being one of the few two-way players on this roster, Ball is arguably the best shooter.

“Beyond just his style of play, he was so fun to watch. My dominant memory of him in those first 35 games was him just raining threes, man. That jump shot has just become, truly, a thing of beauty. He’s just got incredible form, great arc, great rotation…Someone told us after one postgame, he’s become an elite shooter in this league. And that is just such a weapon to have beyond all the other stuff he brings…you need that guy healthy for this team to be what it needs to be.”