For the first time in a while, reporters had a chance to catch up with injured point guard Lonzo Ball this week. But much like every other update, there’s only tiny glimmers of hope sprinkled across a mostly bleak forecast.
NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer, for example, spoke to Ball about his ongoing recovery during a holiday gift drive. And while Ball couldn’t provide any timeline for his return, stating that he remains “a ways out,” he did say that there has been minor improvement since his knee surgery in late summer. More specifically, he confirmed that he’s finally starting to see progress in doing the kind of day-to-day activities that were giving him trouble during the offseason.
“The last couple weeks I’m finally starting to see some improvement, which is nice to see,” Ball said. “It’s still not, obviously, where I want to be, but it’s definitely positive light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ball also confirmed that he’s been able to add some stationary shooting and get the ball into his hands in recent weeks. Of course, this hasn’t led to any kind of reported running or cutting, but it still has to be considered a step in the right direction at this point in time.
On the more pessimistic side of things, Ball suggested that the pain he’s experiencing in his knee isn’t going anywhere. Instead, this rehab process could be more about reducing it to a manageable level and learning to live with it.
Here’s exactly what he told Schaefer:
“A lot of mobility stuff, trying to work through the pain. The pain is there, pretty sure it’s gonna be there. Just figuring out how we can get through it to a point I can produce on the court.”
What also wasn’t fun to hear was just how difficult it’s been for the starter to be stuck on the sideline. We all know how much his absence has changed things for this team on both ends of the ball, and it sure sounds like something that he’s still coming to terms with:
“I’m not going to lie, it’s hard for me,” Ball said about his recovery. “It’s really hard for me. I think we got a great team, and I know the thing I can do to help the team out. But, unfortunately, I’m not on the court right now, and I feel like we’re all feeling that.”
I only feel worse and worse for Ball. He came to Chicago with hopes of a fresh start and an even greater role. He played tremendous basketball and demonstrated just how strong of a winning player he can be before this injury put practically everything in jeopardy.
While I’d love nothing more than to see him return to help the Bulls this season, I just hope he has the opportunity to play truly healthy basketball again.