East Notes: Bulls, Lonzo Ball, Cavs, Ricky Rubio, Nets

Bulls

The Bulls are hopeful injured point guard Lonzo Ball can make a return from a knee injury in January, when he will have been out for nearly a year, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Ball missed the final 47 games of last season and the first 20 so far this year. At one point, he had to shut down his rehab because of persistent pain. But he has made progress recently, leading the Bulls to feel optimistic that he’ll be back for the season’s second half, per Charania.

  • In case you missed it, the Bulls signed coach Billy Donovan to a contract extension ahead of the season. They have yet to announce it. We have the full story here.

Cavaliers

It’s still too soon to put a timeframe on a return for point guard Ricky Rubio (knee), but it definitely appears to be getting closer, as relayed by Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

“He has a doctor’s appointment coming up soon to see how everything is healing and where he is at from that standpoint,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of Rubio, via Fedor.

Rubio suffered a torn ACL in a game against the Pelicans in late December. He was then traded to the Pacers in a deal that sent small forward Caris LeVert to the Cavs. Rubio re-signed with Cleveland over the summer.

“Everything is progressing well,” Bickerstaff said. “Just a matter of proper healing and time before he comes back and plays.”

  • Cavs power forward Kevin Love (thumb) put up some shots during Wednesday’s morning shootaround, ahead of the home game vs. the 76ers, per Fedor. Love and center Jarrett Allen continue to be listed as out.

Nets

Star guard Kyrie Irving said not having guard/forward Ben Simmons truly changes the complexion of the Nets. As we relayed here, Simmons has a sore left knee and is on track to miss his sixth game of the season.

“When he’s not out there we don’t have our point forward, our point guard, being able to initiate easy opportunities, push the ball in transition; so we’ll definitely miss him in the lineup,” Irving said, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “Hopefully he comes back [soon], but if he’s dealing with it we just want him to get as healthy as possible and we’ll figure it out.”

  • Guard/forward Joe Harris has been struggling on 3-pointers this season, but said he intends to keep firing away. “Reset. You can’t dwell on it,” Harris said, via Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post. “[My shot] feels fine. There’s some that feel better than others: the ones that go in. The ones I’m missing left or right, I can feel those ones as the shot goes up that it’s probably off.”

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