What’s Lonzo Ball’s timeline to return to Chicago Bulls?

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls‘ starting point guard Lonzo Ball is restarting his rehab process after shutting down activity for 10 days due to to concerns about his longevity and potential discomfort following arthroscopic knee surgery back January.

Head coach Billy Donovan noted that Ball’s rehab will be gradual: “With the amount of time that he had off to let things calm down, we’re not going to go 0-to-60.

Ball has not played since Jan. 14, and the Bulls have struggled to defend the perimeter since he’s been out. If Ball’s knee responds to the treatment program properly, the team is optimistic that he can return soon. Donovan didn’t rule out Ball returning in the playoffs,  which looks to be the only option as Chicago has four games left in the season.

Donovan emphasized that Ball’s health will ultimately determine his timeline.

"“He’s the driver behind a lot of this, he really wants to play,” Donovan said. “He wants to get back to playing. Obviously he’s also going to be smart in terms of how he’s feeling. He’s going to be realistic and the doctors are going to put their heads together. Certainly every day that goes by and time that passes by, we’re moving closer and closer ’til the end of the season.”"

Chicago desperately needs Ball on both ends of the floor. Their perimeter defense hasn’t been the same since he went out, and their star players are having to do more ball-handling than Donovan would prefer. The Bulls offense has dropped from ninth in the NBA to 18th while their defense has gone from 10th to 24th. 

"“We’d have to see some significant progress that he’s made physically so that we feel good he can go in there and play and contribute and help,” Donovan said. “But I haven’t gotten anything close to shutting him down or anything like that.”"

Expect more news after the team’s Tuesday matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. And it can’t come soon enough with the Bulls two games out of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament following Saturday’s loss to the Heat.

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