ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan just provided the kind of offseason news you never want to hear.
According to Kaplan, the Arturas Karnisovas and Co. have some “serious concerns” about Lonzo Ball’s ongoing knee injury, and the 24-year-old point guard still hasn’t shown progress in his recovery.
“I am hearing that there are serious concerns within the front office of the Chicago Bulls that Lonzo Ball’s knee is not getting better. Not getting better,” Kaplan said Monday morning on Kap & J. Hood.
“So they’ve been out for how long, two weeks? He couldn’t play in that series, if they were starting the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday he could not play. They are having real concerns of why he still has pain any time he tries to ramp it up. And, if he can’t ramp it up in practices or in workouts to get himself where he needs to be, then how the H[ell] is he going to be healthy for an 82-game season. This is a serious problem.”
Excuse me for a moment …
*walks into other room*
*grabs pillow with Lonzo Ball’s face in it*
*screams and cries into said pillow*
Kaplan did preface the conversation by saying he is still waiting “on a little more intel,” and he later clarified that he expects to receive more updates on Ball’s actual status for 2022-23 season. But the overarching report is clear: Ball’s knee has not yet shown legitimate progress and it’s becoming an increasing concern.
The Bulls’ supposed point guard of the future was open about the fact that he was still dealing with problems at his end-of-season press conference. Ball said he remained at a “standstill” in his recovery and continued to experience pain in the same left knee he received surgery on back in January. He told reporters he had plans to meet with another specialist in the coming week.
While Kaplan didn’t specify when he received his latest information, one has to imagine it’s coming after Ball’s most recent doctor appointments. And, if that is the case, it only emphasizes just how much remains up in the air about how quickly Ball can return to 100 percent. The expectation seemed to be that Ball could get healthy by the start of next season, but it has to make you wonder when the concern level upstairs is “serious.”
Indeed, Kaplan also made an important point when he went on to say that Ball’s health could “color how they address their offseason.”
Signed to a four-year, $80 million deal one summer ago, Ball was inked as one of the most crucial pieces to the Bulls’ new puzzle. We saw how large of a role he played in helping this group establish an identity with his strong two-way play this season. We also saw how disjointed the Bulls could become without their savvy point guard at the helm. If Ball’s health can’t be trusted moving forward, it’s not hard to believe it could impact the priorities of this front office over the next couple of months. Not to mention, could it impact how unrestricted free agent Zach LaVine views this team’s ceiling?
The only good news I can muster right now is that we have a loooong offseason ahead of us. The conference finals have not even begun, which means we still have roughly five months before the 2022-23 campaign tips-off. All things considered, that is a lot of time for Ball to solve the problem and regain health. But, yes, there is no question this is some discouraging news, and we’ll have to keep an eye out for whether or not upcoming front office decisions appear to coincide with the organization’s concern.
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