Lonzo Ball injury update is horrible news for Chicago Bulls

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls starting point guard and defensive stopper Lonzo Ball is in danger of not returning before the conclusion of the regular season.

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will pause his knee rehab for a minimum 10 days following setback. Head coach Billy Donovan said that Ball will continue to do strength work but will cease running.

"“The feeling was, let’s really pull back on what he’s doing and let’s let him … I don’t want to use the word rest because it’s not like he’s sitting around doing nothing — he’ll do strength training and those kind of things — but take a break on the running and trying to ramp him up,” Donovan said."

Ball has been sidelined since Jan. 14 for what was initially believed to be a knee bruise. It was later revealed that he suffered a torn meniscus and underwent surgery on Jan. 28. The timeline for his recovery was set for 6-8 weeks. That’s now extended despite Ball showing progress in rehab.

The former No. 2 overall pick has had knee issues throughout his career, undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers. A study conducted by National Library of Medicine showed that pain and/or effusion in the knee after the return-to-sport were found in 22% of the athletes with meniscus operations.

While the Bulls were hoping to have Ball back before the conclusion of the regular season, it’s imperative that he’s 80-100% if they want to make a deep playoff run. If a few more weeks puts him in that range, then so be it. He’s a key piece in their foundation of a championship team and can put them over the top in playoff games this season and beyond.

"“We’ll have a better feel of that once they get through this next 10 days,” Donovan said. “Obviously, it’s coming to the end of the season. … I think that they felt like, ‘OK if he can, over this 10-day period, really get back to the ramp-up period, because he has been out for quite some time,’ that would enable him to get back into contact relatively soon.”"

Ball averaged 13 points, five rebounds and five assists before his injury and was the defensive anchor in the starting lineup. The Bulls were 27-12 before Ball went down and haven’t found their footing since, currently 14-17 without him. Their defensive efficiency has taken the biggest hit during his absence, as its now allowing 112.1 points per 100 possessions.

Chicago has a tough stretch to end the season, including games against Darius Garland, Kyle Lowry and Jayson Tatum. Without Ball, the Bulls will need to find  someone who can limit these impact guards while also contributing on the offensive end.

And the plan to get him back on the court better be a calculated one because the Bulls can’t be inserting him into the lineup if he’s not up to speed or used to game action before the playoffs start.

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