The Bulls are 21 days away from starting the 2022-23 season. During the offseason, the Bulls didn’t make a lot of adjustments as they wanted to focus on continuity. That looks like it will work out with the majority of the team however there is going to be one huge hole when the season begins. Bulls starting point guard Lonzo Ball will be out for at least 4-6 weeks and potentially the entire season.
Lonzo Ball will undergo an arthroscopic debridement of his left knee on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in LA.
He will be re-evaluated in 4-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) September 21, 2022
There was quite a bit of discussion about Lonzo’s knee early in the offseason and then things went quiet. Most assumed Lonzo was simply rehabbing and working on getting back into shape for the upcoming season. It turns out things were not getting better for Lonzo. Things weren’t getting better at all. We are at a point where Lonzo’s knee may never be the same and his career could be coming to an unexpected end.
Doctors are surprised by the slow recovery
Knee injuries aren’t uncommon in professional sports. You typically see an injury occur and then are given a timeline for recovery and for the most part a player follows that timeline and returns. Sometimes it is extended but a team can at least see progress for the player. In Ball’s case, there doesn’t appear to be any improvement. Lonzo is having issues doing day-to-day tasks.
"I can't run or jump. … Until I can do those things, I can't play."
Lonzo Ball gave an update on his knee ahead of his surgery.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 28, 2022
At this point, he is experiencing pain when walking up the stairs. That right there is all you need to know as far as his timeline to return. One can expect him to be out for at least the next 2-3 months as he will need to get back into game shape. At this point, this situation has hit its low and the Bulls are hoping for the best. The good news here is Lonzo is having another surgery and hopefully, that means the issue will be corrected.
Whatever needs to be done will be done
Lonzo is heading into his third knee surgery on this knee today. This surgery is one where the doctors are going in to see if they can figure out what’s going on. It seems like doctors aren’t sure why he is still experiencing pain and the MRIs aren’t showing them much. Today’s surgery appears to be a go-in and look for something surgery.
Lonzo Ball on his knee operation: "They’re going in there to see what it is. Because it’s not necessarily showing up on the MRI, but it’s clear there’s something there that’s not right. So they’re going to go in, look at it and whatever needs to be done is going to be done.”
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) September 27, 2022
Now, this can end in two ways for Lonzo and the Bulls. The doctors can find out the source of the issue and correct it and give a more accurate recovery timeline. The alternative is they go in and don’t see anything that points to the problem and Lonzo jumps back into rehab and hopes for the best. Knee issues have derailed countless players’ careers and Bulls Nation is hoping Lonzo isn’t next. We should know more possibly today but definitely in the coming days. Either way, the Bulls need to prepare for a 2022-23 season without him.
Plan for the worst
The Bulls are heading into a highly anticipated season. After making the playoffs last season this team is expected to take a step up. Even if that means taking that step up without Lonzo the Bulls need to do it. Head coach Billy Donovan knows they will likely need to prepare for the possibility of not seeing Lonzo all year.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan on if he’s preparing for a scenario that Lonzo Ball misses the full 2023 season:
“I think you have to.” (via @DarnellMayberry)
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 27, 2022
While the Bulls didn’t know Lonzo’s knee would turn out like this they did make a move in the offseason to have some security at the point guard position. The Bulls added free agent point guard Goran Dragic this offseason. Dragic is heading into his 15th NBA season and brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge. Coming off a season averaging 7.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, & 4.1 APG Dragic is going to be a key piece to this team until Lonzo is back. If he can’t come back then expect him to carry the weight all season along with the young guards the Bulls have.
Hopefully, we get the best-case scenario with Lonzo’s surgery today and the Bulls will only be without him for half the season. I wouldn’t get your hopes up considering the state he is in right now but you never know what the doctors may find. Ultimately whether it’s an entire season or not we just hope to see Lonzo back on the court for the Bulls at some point. In his 35 games with the Bulls, he was playing at a high level. Here’s to hoping we will see him back on the court helping the Bulls win again at some point.