Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2022-23 season, the team confirmed. Ball has experienced setbacks in his recovery process from a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Ball hasn’t been healthy enough to suit up for any games this season and was last on the court in January 2022. Since then, the former No. 2 overall draft pick has undergone two surgeries on his left knee.
He had seen some improvements in the most recent months, but is still unable to perform common basketball activities like running and jumping without pain.
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«Despite achieving significant increases in strength and function in recent months, Ball continues to experience performance-limiting discomfort during participation in high-level basketball-related activities,» Bulls vice president Arturas said. Karnisovas, in a statement.
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Karnisovas added that Ball’s focus will shift to be ready for next season.
«Given the length of time required to achieve the fitness level necessary to return to play and the current stage of the NBA season, Ball will not return this season. Ball’s focus will continue to be on resolving his discomfort. and a full return for the 2023-24 season.»
The 25-year-old is in the middle of a four-year, $80 million contract with the Bulls. He played a big role in ending the Bulls’ playoff drought last season. Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds in 35 games in the 2021-22 season.
Chicago entered the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, but lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the first round.
The Bulls have a sub-.500 record since Ball’s last regular season game, going 45-56 since January 2022. The Bulls continued to slide before the All-Star break on a six-game losing streak.
Chicago is 11th in the East, which has the team currently out of playoff contention.
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The Bulls signed point guard and Chicago native Patrick Beverley, who is motivated to help the team advance to the playoffs. «We have to make the playoffs,» Beverley said on a recent episode of his podcast. «So, excuse me.»
The team is certainly hoping that Beverley can bring a spark to the locker room, while also ramping up production at point guard in Ball’s absence.
«The Bulls have been chasing me for the last two years,» Beverley said on Pat Bev’s Podcast with Rone. «I thought I could make a playoff run with the Bulls right now and cheer them up a bit. The East is a little weak, you know? Not to disrespect anyone from the East, but a lot of people went East.» West. So I’m excited, I’m excited.»
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The Bulls host the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.