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Bulls’ Floor General Makes Eye-Popping Announcement

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball, out with injury

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball hasn’t been seen in an NBA game since Jan. 2022, but the long wait for his return may soon be over.

“It’s coming along, man. Week by week,” Ball says of his injury recovery on his podcast What an Experience.

“It’s improving, so that’s all I can ask for,” Ball continues. “Still not where I want it to be. Out of 100 (percent), I’d say I’m about 70 (percent). Good enough to play, but it could still get better, I feel like.”

“I still got a long summer ahead of me. But definitely looking forward to the future.”

After tearing his meniscus two years ago, Ball has underwent three surgeries. He originally completed a knee surgery to repair the meniscus he tore in January. That offseason, he went under the knife again for an arthroscopic debridement. Then ruled out for the 2022-23 season due to continued discomfort in his surgically-repaired knee, Ball’s last surgery was a cartilage replacement that prevented him from playing in 2023-24.

Lonzo Ball Makes Eye-Popping Announcement

Ball’s absence has derailed his momentum.

The second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft,  he was finally cementing himself as one of the better players in the league. It’s been a long journey for Chino Hills native, as the same flair and charisma that helped his father become a household name became a weight vest early in his career.

Met with expectations to be the next Magic Johnson, Ball faltered under the L.A. spotlight, shooting 38.0 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3 in his first two seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers then traded Ball to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he rediscovered his 3-point stroke. In two seasons with the Pelicans, he shot 37.9 percent from 3. Finding himself on the move once again, Ball then had his best career to date. In 2021-22, he averaged 13.0 points, 5.1 assists, and a career-high 1.8 steals per game, shooting 42.3 percent from 3. However, he was limited to just 35 games due to his midseason meniscus injury.

With the Bulls signing All-Star swingman DeMar DeRozan in 2021, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Chicago has been unable to maximize their perimeter talent, sorely missing Ball’s defense, court vision, passing ability, and outside efficiency. All of those skills balance well with DeRozan’s weaknesses, while helping minimize Zach LaVine’s.

With the Bulls unable to replace Ball, these last two seasons have seemed like missed opportunities. Finishing below .500 both seasons, if Chicago had Ball in the lineup, they may have earned their third straight playoff berth this year. Instead, they’ve only had one postseason appearance since 2017 and none since 2022.

The Last Word on Lonzo Ball’s Recovery

Ball will be on the final season of his contract in 2024-25. Given his injury history, it’s unlikely that he’ll be paid anything close to the near $20 million annual salary he’s earned since 2021. With that said, depending on if and how well he plays next season, the Bulls should have no issue re-signing him if they want. Nonetheless, Chicago has a few questions to answer no matter what happens with Ball, primarily the futures of LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.

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