Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to his knee injury, the team announced on Wednesday. He will continue rehabbing and hopes to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 season.
Ball has not played since Jan. 14 with what the team initially diagnosed as a knee bruise. Further evaluation later revealed Ball suffered a torn meniscus, and he underwent surgery to address the issue on Jan. 28. The initial timeline for Ball's recovery was six-to-eight weeks, but his rehab did not go as planned.
Earlier this week, Ball felt discomfort in his knee after another attempt at ramping up his rehab process in hopes of returning to the floor. Unfortunately, after a consultation between the Bulls' medical staff and Ball's representatives, they came to a decision to shut him down.
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While that's not the news the Bulls were hoping for, the most important thing is getting Ball back to 100 percent. He's an integral part of their team in both the present and the future, and putting the long-term health of his knee at risk was not worth it -- no matter how much the team misses him.
Ball was averaging 13 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in his first season with the Bulls before getting injured, and was a vital part of their perimeter defense alongside Alex Caruso. While other players have missed time as well, the Bulls went 27-12 before Ball went down, and 18-22 since.
Thanks to that terrific start, the Bulls have clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2017. How far they can advance without Ball, however, remains to be seen. Their play over the last few months is certainly not encouraging.