Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball is experiencing discomfort in his knee after another attempt at ramping up his rehab process in hopes of returning to the floor, and is reportedly expected to be shut down for the rest of the season. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday prior to the team’s game with the Milwaukee Bucks, head coach Billy Donovan said that Ball will meet with the medical staff to decide on the next step to be taken.
While a final decision has not been made at this point in time, Ball likely won’t return to the court this season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. Per Donovan, a conversation between the Bulls and Ball’s representatives will happen in the coming days.
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Ball has not played since Jan. 14 with what the team initially diagnosed as a knee bruise. Further evaluation later revealed Ball suffered a torn meniscus, and he underwent surgery to address the issue on Jan. 28. The initial timeline for Ball’s recovery was six-to-eight weeks, but he will now be out longer than that.
While that’s not the news the Bulls were hoping for, the most important thing is getting Ball back at 100 percent, whether that takes a couple extra weeks or the remainder of this season. He’s an integral part of their team in both the present and the future, and putting the long-term health of his knee at risk is not worth a few extra games this season — no matter how much the team needs him back on the court.
Ball was averaging 13 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in his first season with the Bulls before getting injured, and was a vital part of their perimeter defense alongside Alex Caruso. While other players have missed time as well, the Bulls have gone 27-12 before Ball went down, and 18-21 since.