"No Guarantee" That Lonzo Ball is Able to Return This Season

Social Navigation

“No Guarantee” That Lonzo Ball is Able to Return This Season

Chicago Bulls

Every time we’ve heard about Lonzo Ball, things have gotten worse. And Adrian Wojnarowski continued that trend on Wednesday night.

Ahead of the Bulls’ matchup with the New York Knicks, Wojnarowski appeared on ESPN to talk about where the starting point guard’s recovery stands. He shared that the 25-year-old is still experiencing some pain in his knee, and the chance of him making an actual return to the floor this season is up in the air.

Read it for yourself:

“There are no guarantees, I’m told, that he plays at all this season,” Woj told Malika Andrews. “He’s rehabbing that knee now. He’s still feeling some pain in it. The hope is that perhaps by the All-Star break in mid-February, they have a sense whether Lonzo Ball is ready to come back and play for Chicago. A lot of that may depend on where are the Bulls in the standings?

Right now, they’re in 11th. They’re out of the playoff picture. I think if they’re lingering around that area, there will be a real decision made about whether he plays at all … I think are certainly some decisions to be made for this Bulls team at the trade deadline if they don’t improve and they take a look at this core. But, right now, Lonzo Ball, there is no real expectation you’ll see him at least, perhaps, until around the All-Star break in mid-February.”

First things first, I don’t think it was ever a given that Ball would return to the court this season. We’re all aware of how mysterious this whole process has been, and we’re also aware of the fact that he hasn’t even started running or cutting yet.

Having said that, the Bulls did express confidence after his second surgery that he could find his way back into the lineup during the second half of the season. There also seemed to be a legitimate belief that this procedure solved whatever the problem was. So the fact that Wojnarowski is coming out this early on in the season to potentially set up the idea that Ball isn’t going to return at all certainly feels discouraging.

He did reiterate that the Bulls still have their eye on the All-Star break as a possible return timeline. But that also came tied to comments about how the Bulls may not even try to have him come back if they remain outside the playoff picture. In other words, Woj continued to open the door to a world where the Bulls reverse course around the trade deadline and begin to reinvent their roster.

To be sure, we still have a long ways to go before then. The Bulls also remain just 2.0 games out from holding a top-8 spot in the Eastern Conference, so a lot can change over the next several weeks. If one thing is for sure, though, it’s that things still aren’t looking up for Ball. And that could spell real trouble for the Bulls.

What Woj’s full comments below:

Latest from Bleacher Nation:

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.