Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is doubtful to return for the start of the regular season as he continues to recuperate from meniscus surgery on his left knee last January, per ESPN's Jamal Collier and Ramona Shelburne.
He is also expected to miss training camp prior to the beginning of the team's regular season, which starts Oct. 19 at the Miami Heat.
Collier and Shelburne provided more information regarding the injury.
"While a source reiterated Ball's knee is structurally sound after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 28, he continued to experience pain while attempting basketball activities as he spent the summer rehabbing in Los Angeles.
"Ball will arrive in Chicago next week to undergo further evaluation by the team, but he is unlikely to participate when the Bulls begin training camp at the end of this month, sources said."
Injuries have been an issue for Ball throughout his career. The 2017 first-round pick has never played more than 63 games in a season and has missed 25 or more games in all but one of his five NBA seasons.
Ball suffered a torn meniscus in January that caused him to miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season. His unexpectedly slow recovery—the injury typically takes several weeks, rather than several months, to heal—led to questions about his status.
Now the Bulls look likely to enter the season without Ball, which is a big concern for Chicago. The Bulls were 22-13 with Ball but 24-23 without him in 2021-22.
Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 35 games last season.