The Chicago Bulls have been unable to get anything going to start this season, entering Wednesday’s matchup with the Knicks at 11-15, good for just 11th in the East. A team that looked so promising for the first half of last season has now become a team with little promise of upside, with the NBA world seemingly just waiting for them to make significant changes to the roster.
One of the reasons for the Bulls’ struggles has been the absence of Lonzo Ball, who is approaching a year off the court due to a meniscus injury that was supposed to be a 4-6 week recovery process. Ball’s knee has continued to give him problems, requiring a second surgery in September, with an evaluation supposed to take place 4-6 weeks after that. Ball has continued to rehab, but there have not been many positive updates on his status since having that surgery. Unfortunately, on Wednesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that there are “no guarantees” the Ball will play this year, while Chicago is still holding out hope that by the All-Star break he might be able to start working his way back.
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That Ball is still dealing with pain is awful to hear, as he lamented this offseason that he’s had to deal with discomfort simply going up and down stairs and, beyond a return to the NBA, the baseline hope was that another surgery could ease that pain in day-to-day life.
As Woj notes, whether it’s worth trying to bring Ball back for the post All-Star may come down to whether the Bulls are still in reasonable striking distance of a play-in spot in the East. By that point they will have had to make decisions on the direction of the team as the trade deadline arrives a week before All-Star, and what they do there may be an indicator of whether their level of optimism has changed about Ball’s knee.