Bulls News: Lonzo Ball finally on track to return from injury

Chicago Bulls Media Day
Chicago Bulls Media Day / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Ever since signing — and promptly losing — Lonzo Ball back in 2021, the Chicago Bulls have suffered through a series of most unfortunate events. Kicking off the 2021-22 season with a very solid 22-13 record with Lonzo at the helm, the Bulls have now stumbled to an embarrassingly mediocre 78-84 record in the two years since losing the versatile point guard.

This year has not been particularly kind to the Bulls from a health perspective, as Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and Torrey Craig have each now joined Lonzo on the injury report and have been forced to miss significant time. These four players account for 60% of Chicago's cap space alone, and 50% of the Bulls' total roster payroll. This is simply too large of a setback to reasonably expect a team to overcome.

Fortunately, may be a light at the end of the tunnel yet, as the Bulls have informed the press that Ball is on track to make his return to the court for Chicago. Set to resume physical activity soon, Lonzo will eventually have the opportunity to save his career in the league if all goes well.

K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago confirms this news, adding that Lonzo's pain in his knee has started to subside and he will soon begin running and putting more weight on his foot,

Lonzo Ball is finally preparing to make his return from injury to the Bulls.

Unfortunately, Ball has already been confirmed to be sidelined for the remainder of he 2023-24 season. As a result, Chicago has been granted a $10 million disabled player exception that ownership has so far proven to be unwilling to spend as they continually duck the luxury tax.

It's important to remember that although Lonzo's guaranteed contract ends upon the conclusion of this season, he also holds a player option for 2024-25. This means he can (and likely will) re-up with the Bulls for another $21.4 million and the opportunity to prove he still has a little left in the tank.

While speaking to the press, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan seemed confident that Lonzo was meeting the necessary milestone in order to eventually resume his career. "The pain that he was experiencing has been eliminated," confirms Donovan.

Unfortunately, this means his first year back with the Bulls will probably be little more than a showcase for other teams in free agency. Set to hit unrestricted in free agency, there's undoubtedly going to be championship teams willing to take a flyer on Lonzo as a low-risk, high-reward gamble. The Bulls, on the other hand, likely won't be interested in such an injury prone player returning on anything short of a steal.

Still, it's interesting to think about how good this team would be if they had a player like Lonzo around to run the floor. This roster appears to have bought into Donovan's scheme and is reaping the benefits of a more team-oriented style of play; adding an elite playmaker, defender, and shooter to the mix would only stand to make the Bulls that much more dangerous.

Hopefully, Lonzo Ball will once again play meaningful basketball for Chicago. But at this point, I'll just be happy to see him suit up once more, even if it doesn't happen in a Bulls uniform.

Next. 2024-25 starting lineup. Predicting the Chicago Bulls' 2024-25 starting lineup. dark

Next. 2024-25 starting lineup. Predicting the Chicago Bulls' 2024-25 starting lineup. dark