Following Lonzo Ball’s progress this offseason has felt like laying in the fetal position in the middle of a dark, bug-infested tunnel. But Billy Donovan may have finally provided some light.
The last update we heard from the Bulls organization on Ball came during Summer League. Arturas Karnisovas said live on NBATV that, while Ball had made some progress, he was “probably not going at the speed” the team would like. This came tied to words from NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson that Ball’s offseason rehab has taken a similar shape to his in-season routine, which featured starts and stops due to lingering discomfort in his knee.
However, in a recent conversation with NCAA reporter Andy Katz, Donovan provided some encouraging words on Ball’s status:
“Lonzo continues to improve and get better … Lonzo appears to continue to move in a very very positive direction and Alex is fine right now,” Donovan said while attending an event in honor of his 1987 Providence men’s basketball team.
Look, I don’t know what Donovan’s definition of “very very positive” is at this point in time, but it’s the first time we’ve heard anyone inside the organization use that kind of wording. I also don’t suspect he would say this unless he was feeling confident about where Ball was trending, especially when we consider how poorly things have gone.
Donovan’s comments also come on a handful of days after ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan shared that LaVar Ball informed him his son was “coming along” and would be “ready to go” for the start of the season. Now, to be sure, we should always take what LaVar says with a grain of salt, but that’s also why it’s so important that we are also hearing some promising words from someone like Donovan.
I’m still eager for a more detailed update on where his knee stands. Heck, I’d even settle for just some optimistic footage of him on the basketball court. This whole situation has just been so dang weird that it’s hard to fully trust these periodic updates. I guess all we can do is cross our fingers and hope news like this becomes more frequent.