Lonzo Ball Is Still Experiencing Pain in His Knee
Lonzo Ball played 35 games of the Bulls’ 2021-22 campaign thanks to a lingering knee injury.
Acquired in a sign-and-trade last summer, Ball inked a four-year, $85 million deal to become the franchise’s future starting point guard. The 24-year-old looked ready for a potential breakout season over his first couple of months, hitting an absurd 42.3 percent of his shots from downtown and playing All-Defensive Team-caliber defense.
Things hit an abrupt stop in January, though, when Ball suffered a small meniscus tear in his left knee. Surgery meant a six-to-eight-week absence, but that quickly turned into the rest of the season due to a lingering bone bruise and consistent pain.
Unfortunately, even with Ball off the court since January 14th, those issues apparently haven’t subsided.
“I’m kind of at a standstill right now,” Ball told media members during Thursday exit interview. “I’m supposed to be meeting with another specialist next week to try to figure some stuff out. Kind of let it calm down for the last two weeks. I was going at it pretty hard trying to get back as fast as possible. But, like I said, at a standstill. Still have pain, so I got to get that figured out this summer for sure.”
Months rest ahead for Ball to get his body right, but it’s still dispiriting to hear the team’s lead guard has yet to solve the problem. In fact, things still appear so up in the air that Ball couldn’t rule out the possibility of another procedure.
“I’m not sure,” Ball said when asked about whether surgery remainded on the table. “Hopefully not. I wouldn’t want to have another one, but if that’s what it takes, then I pretty much have no choice at this point.”
The Bulls desperately missed Ball’s two-way skillset over the second half of the season. They watched a net rating that once sat top-10 in the league tumble toward the NBA’s bottom-third. While Ball’s absence is not the sole reason for that decrease in production, there is no question we learned just how much better his defensive instincts and transition playmaking made this team on both ends.
As his teammates try to hone areas of their craft over the next few months, the lone goal for Ball appears simple. His 35 games played were his fewest in a season over his five-year career, so finding a way to return to 100 percent before training camp rolls around in September will surely be key to starting next year on a high note.
“Really just get healthy and do whatever I got to do to get back and play the full 82 next year,” Ball told reporters when asked about the front office’s message to him. “So that’s pretty much my main priority this summer. I’m going to hit the ground running.”
For a full look at what Ball had to say, you can check out his full end-of-season presser below:
LIVE: Lonzo Ball End-of-Season Presser https://t.co/XjXWa26bEZ
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 28, 2022