Bulls Officials ‘Confident’ Lonzo Ball Will Play Next Season

According to NBA reporter Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, Chicago Bulls officials are “confident” Lonzo Ball will play next season. 

Lonzo Ball, Chicago Bulls, NBA, LaVar Ball
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Ball hasn’t played in an NBA game since January 14, 2022. 

“Team officials are confident Ball, out since Jan. 14, 2022, due to a chronic knee ailment, will play next season,” Mayberry wrote. “They’re just not as confident about when. Opening night doesn’t sound likely. However, Ball sounds hellbent on returning each time he’s asked publicly. It will be something of a miracle for Ball to take an NBA court again after what could be a three-year absence. That also makes it impossible to have any expectations whenever Ball returns.”

Ball signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Bulls in August 2021 as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. The UCLA product averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.9 blocks for Chicago in 2021-22 in 35 games while shooting 42.3% from the field, 42.3% from beyond the arc and 75.0% from the free-throw line.

Ball has career averages of 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks with the Los Angeles Lakers, Pelicans and Bulls. He was the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Lakers. 

“If he rejoins the Bulls’ lineup next season, Ball’s comeback will be one of the biggest stories in basketball,” Mayberry wrote. “And how the Bulls manage his recovery will be a season-long storyline.”

The Bulls missed the playoffs last year and this year without Ball, who underwent a cartilage transplant in his left knee. The guard received a meniscus transplant from a donor.

“There was no more meniscus left and bone on bone was rubbing,” Ball said on his podcast in May. “The cartilage was gone and the bone was messed up, so I had to get a new meniscus from a donor. I had to get a bone allograft and I had to get some new cartilage put in as well.”

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