The Chicago Bulls don’t know when to expect their starting point guard Lonzo Ball back on the floor.
Ball has played at least 60 games just once in his five-year NBA career. He shined for the Bulls last season, averaging 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals on 34.6 minutes over 35 games, with career-bests of 57.5 percent true shooting and 42.3 percent from three-point range before going down with a meniscus tear in his left knee.
The Bulls are taking the long-term approach with Ball; they won’t rush him back, which makes the next few weeks extremely significant for a potential return this season.
Latest on Ball’s progress
On Monday’s episode of the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast, ESPN reporters Brian Windhorst and Jamal Collier talked about Ball’s uncertain injury timeline.
“The Lonzo updates have been sort of few and far between and not super encouraging,” Collier said.
“He’s doing more and more, is what Billy said. Now more doesn’t include playing basketball, more doesn’t include running, more doesn’t include jumping, and any of the things you would sort of want your point guard to be doing if he was going to be playing basketball this season.”
“Let’s just be honest, there’s no timeline whatsoever, nobody knows,” Windhorst added.
Ball’s latest surgery, his second since January and the third on his knee overall, aimed to clean up after the first two. The belief is that loose cartilage caused nerve damage, which led to pain that hindered him beyond basketball.
Ball’s impact is evident
The Bulls went 22-13 with Ball last season and 24-23 without Ball. Per StatMuse, he posted a defensive rating of 111 last season.
The Bulls need Ball, but the talented point guard should not try to come back before he is completely ready. The sooner the Bulls get Ball back, the better, but they have to take their time to evaluate the next steps.