Lonzo Ball is in a career crisis. The leadoff son of the professional basketball-playing Ball clan will most likely miss training camp for the Chicago Bulls after lingering pain from meniscus surgery on his left knee in January. After expecting a full recovery within a few months, Lonzo kept experiencing pain while trying to restart his basketball training.
Ball spent his summer offseason rehabbing in Los Angeles. He suffered the meniscus tear in his left knee on Jan. 14 against the Golden State Warriors, which the team initially believed was a knee bruise.
Eventually ruled out for the rest of the season at the beginning of April, Ball acknowledged that his knee recovery was “at a standstill,” during his exit interview at the end of January.
It seems the Bulls will be without Lonzo Ball to start the new season. 😔 pic.twitter.com/lvxPyWxHhi
— theScore (@theScore) September 2, 2022
During an NBA summer league broadcast on NBA TV, Chicago Bulls executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas tried to calm the suspicions but wound up only creating more doubt about Ball’s return.
“He’s progressing. That’s as much as I can say,” Karnišovas said during the NBA TV telecast. “He’s getting better; probably not at the speed that we would like, but he is getting better. Hopefully he’s going to be ready for training camp, (but) that’s just our hopes.”
Karnišovas’ hope partly stems from the fact that he pursued Ball aggressively during the 2021 offseason, which included the team forfeiting a second-round pick once the league ruled it held premature discussions with a representative in advance of the execution of his sign-and-trade agreement.
Lonzo Ball signed a four-year, $80 million deal, coming in with all the pomp and circumstance his meteoric rise from social media to the league commanded. The 24-year-old averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. He established his value to the organization with a dominant initial 35 games as a Bulls player. Ball created the floor spacing as a floor general, shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range, a career-high, with a volume of 7.4 attempts per game.
He pushed the rock up the court, dribbling or passing to resuscitate the Bulls’ transition attack, averaging a career-high 1.8 steals and posting over three deflections per game. However, the issue is a recurring one for Ball, whose knee also underwent a procedure in 2018 when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers. A bone bruise predated the January meniscus tear.
Injuries have troubled Ball since he entered the league, and he has never played an entire season over only five years in the NBA. Ball has suffered a torn ankle ligament, sprained MCL, and multiple injuries during career stops with the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. As a result, the injuries resulted in him playing only 64.6 percent of regular-season games.
The Bulls held a record of 27-13 when Ball played in the fateful January game. Chicago finished 19-23 down the stretch minus Ball, eventually losing their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks within five games.
Now Ball, propelled by his father LaVar Ball’s direction and media savvy, might not start the season in a league where his brother has leapfrogged him in popularity.
Read More TSL Stories: