Woj: 'No Guarantees' Bulls' Lonzo Ball Returns From Knee Injury This Season

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 15, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JANUARY 12: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Chicago Bulls walks backcourt during a game against the Brooklyn Nets at United Center on January 12, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball may not play during the 2022-23 campaign.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday on NBA Countdown that there are "no guarantees" Ball plays at all this season as he's still experiencing pain while rehabbing his knee injury.

"I think the hope is that, perhaps by the All-Star break in mid-February, they have a sense of whether Lonzo Ball is ready to come back and play for Chicago," Wojnarowski said. "A lot of that may depend on where are the Bulls in the standings."

Ball only played 35 games last season after being diagnosed with a small meniscus tear in his left knee in January. He underwent arthroscopic surgery and was initially expected to miss just six-to-eight weeks.

However, bad news emerged in March that the 24-year-old's knee had not responded well to rehab:

Rob Schaefer @rob_schaef

Today is 7 weeks since surgery. Initial timeline was 6-8 weeks. Donovan has said it's the bone bruise giving him discomfort issues<br><br>"He hasn't gone backwards. He just has not been able to go forward far enough to do the things he's gonna need to be able to do to play."

He was ruled out for the season on April 6, one day after Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said Ball was still experiencing discomfort in his knee:

Jamal Collier @JamalCollier

Lonzo Ball experienced some discomfort when the Bulls tried to ramp up his knee rehab again, Billy Donovan says <br><br>He says they’ll meet in the next day or two to determine the next steps

More bad news dropped on Sept. 21 when the Bulls announced that the UCLA product would undergo another procedure that would keep him out for an extended period of time:

Jamal Collier @JamalCollier

Lonzo Ball will undergo an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee next Wednesday, the Bulls just announced. <br><br>He’ll be re-evaluated in 4-to-6 weeks

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic provided more encouraging news:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Both sides are expected to monitor the response over the next two weeks, and a return to play based upon Ball's rehab process.

However, with the recent update from Wojnarowski, it appears that we may not see Ball until the 2023-24 campaign.

The Bulls have turned to Goran Dragić, Ayo Dosunmu, Alex Caruso and Coby White at the point so far this season, but Ball's absence has been felt as Chicago is currently 11th in the Eastern Conference with an 11-15 record.

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević are doing everything they can to carry the team's offense in Ball's absence.