One day before his scheduled arthroscopic surgery, Lonzo Ball spoke out about his lingering knee issue.
It was the starting point guard’s first time fielding questions about the injury since the team’s end-of-season press conferences back in April. And, unfortunately, the update was arguably the worst yet.
“I really can’t run or jump,” Ball said when asked about whether he can participate in any basketball activities. “There is like a range between 30 to 60 degrees when my knee is bent that I have no force, and I can’t catch myself. Until I can do those things, I can’t play.
I did rehab, and it was getting better, but it was not to a point where I could get out there and actually go out there and run at full speed or jump. So surgery is the next step.”
While Ball did reiterate that his knee would feel better at times during offseason ramp-ups, he also made clear that the improvement would never last. Now, instead of simply feeling pain when on the basketball court, Ball said the injury has impacted his day-to-day life.
“It’s every day. Even going upstairs and stuff is painful,” Ball said on Tuesday. “Like I said, it’s definitely something I’ve never dealt with. Even the doctors are surprised about it a little bit. But we’re all working together to figure this out.”
Ball described the looming procedure – which will be the third of his career – as borderline exploratory. He noted that whatever has been effecting him has failed to show up on MRIs, which has seemingly played a role in the minor confusion he said that doctors currently have. If one thing is for sure, Ball appeared notably frustrated by the amount of time he’s been stuck on the sideline. He expressed that the pain is unlike anything he’s felt before, and the goal is to take whatever amount of time is needed to return fully healthy.
Indeed, Ball directly stated that he doesn’t want to “rush anything” after surgery and that taking it “as slow as we can” is likely the best path forward. I don’t think any of us expected the team to rush him back after such a concerning injury situation, but this mentality could tell us that he and the Bulls anticipate his absence to be even longer than the first couple of months of the season.
Of course, we can’t say anything for sure until the surgery is complete. The hope is obviously that doctors can solve the problem and that Ball’s rehab finally becomes linear. Unfortunately, though, we’ve been hoping for a long time now, and there is no question this is one of the most discouraging updates we’ve gotten yet.
We’ll get into how the Bulls will replace him soon enough. For now, you can check out Ball’s full press conference below.