CHICAGO – As it turns out, Lonzo Ball won’t take the floor at all for the Bulls during the 2022-2023 season.
On Tuesday, the Bulls officially shut down the point guard for the season as he was never able to get his ailing left knee back to health over the last year.
“Despite making significant increases in strength and function over the past several months, Bulls guard Lonzo Ball continues to experience performance limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities,” said Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas in a statement released by the team. “Considering the required time period to achieve the necessary level of fitness to return-to-play and the current stage of the NBA season, Ball will not return this season.
“The focus for Ball will continue to be on the resolution of his discomfort and a full return for the 2023-24 season.”
This is hardly a surprise to many since Ball hasn’t played in a game this entire season and has been off the floor since January 14, 2022. He underwent his first surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus later that month and then had another procedure done in September to try to relieve the pain.
But neither surgery has so far proved to work as a key member of the Bulls’ starting lineup has now been off the floor for over a year. Meanwhile, the Bulls have been using a few players, including second-year guard and Chicago native Ayo Dosunmu, to fill in during his absence.
Without Ball, the Bulls have struggled to stay consistent as they were when the guard was in the lineup. After a poor finish to last season, when Ball was out for the last three months and the playoffs, the Bulls are 26-33 and are two games out of the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.
Acquired in a sign-and-trade with the Pelicans in the summer of 2021, Ball played in 35 games for the Bulls in his first season in Chicago. He averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per contest.