Things have not been going well for the Chicago Bulls ever since Lonzo Ball went down with a knee injury in 2021.
The injury kept him out for the whole 2021-22 season, as well as the full 2022-23 season. Now, it appears he will miss the entirety of next season as well, and the Bulls, according to Dan Bernstein of 670 The Score, feel he may never play again.
“The other thing I heard is even though publicly there has been an expression of guarded optimism regarding a future for Lonzo Ball,” Bernstein said. “And there’s a reason why for your pursuant to all kinds of union issues, why they haven’t asked for the salary exemption yet because they don’t want to send the message publicly that they’re done with him. They don’t think it’s likely that he ever plays again.”
The latest surgery for Ball was not a typical operation, which is something that Bernstein noted was a red flag for the guard’s recovery.
“That was our speculation when we heard about experimental cartilage replacement surgery,” Bernstein said. “It is incredibly rare and is much more likely being done just for his quality of life off of the basketball court.”
Ball joined the Bulls prior to the 2021-22 season and averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists in 35 games. His season was cut short in January 2022 due to a knee injury, and the most recent operation put his chances of playing in 2023-24 unlikely.
Both the franchise and Ball have voiced confidence about his eventual return to the hardwood, but this report casts doubt on those plans.
Ball’s contract runs through 2023-24, with a player option for 2024-25.
During his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Pelicans, and Bulls, Ball has career averages of 11.9 points, 6.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds on 40 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent from deep.
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