Lonzo Ball hasn't played a game since Jan. 14, 2022, but the Chicago Bulls point guard isn't worried that multiple knee surgeries will prevent him from playing again in the future.
"I just think it's time-consuming," Ball said of the rehab process, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. "This is my third surgery. I had two last year. It's about building that strength back up and the confidence in myself. I'm only 25, so I'm not too worried about [career-ending injury]."
Johnson noted there is no timetable for the UCLA product's return after he had surgery on a torn meniscus in January 2022 and then an arthroscopic procedure in September. He is yet to be cleared for full-speed running or cutting, which could put playing in a game this season in serious jeopardy.
This isn't how his rehab was supposed to unfold.
Ball was initially ruled out for six to eight weeks following the first surgery in January 2022, which would have put him in line for a return before the playoffs. Yet he never came back and then needed another surgery that put this season in doubt.
However, there was some reason for optimism recently when Ball posted video of himself dunking at the team's practice facility.
Perhaps he will eventually make it back to the floor for a Bulls squad that could use his playmaking on the court. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are score-first wings, and Ball is the type of facilitating point guard who can put them in ideal positions to find the basket.
He is also capable of making three-pointers when defenders collapse on the two go-to options.
For now, the Bulls are 20-24 and in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, which is good enough for the final play-in tournament spot.
But they would be much more dangerous with a healthy Ball leading the fast break and running the half-court offense.