Bulls rule guard Lonzo Ball (knee) out for the rest of the season

Jamal CollierESPN2 minute reading

CHICAGO – Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will miss the remainder of the 2022-23 season, the team announced Tuesday morning, as Ball continues to experience discomfort during basketball activities despite preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.

Ball did not appear in a game this season and has not played since January 14, 2022. He has undergone two surgeries on his left knee since then – in late January 2022 and again in September at the start of training camp – but despite some small improvements in recent months, he still has not been able to run, cut or jump without pain.

“Despite significant gains in strength and function over the past several months, Ball continues to experience performance-limiting discomfort while participating in high-level basketball-related activities,” Bulls VP Arturas Karnisovas said in a team statement. “Given the time period required 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 full return for the 2023-24 season.”

The news of Ball’s suspension was expected considering that Ball, 25, has not been able to increase his basketball activity all season without experiencing discomfort. He will miss the entire 2022-23 campaign, the second year of a four-year, $80 million contract with Chicago.

During his first season with the Bulls, Ball appeared in 35 games and averaged 13.0 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 42% from 3. His presence on the court as a passer, shooter and defender was a catalyst for the team’s recovery. to a 27-13 start in 2021-22.

However, the Bulls have been unable to replicate his production at point guard during his absence, going 45-56 during the regular season since Ball’s last game. Chicago entered the All-Star break on a six-game losing streak at 26-33 and sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

With Ball officially sidelined, the Bulls are adding some reinforcements at point guard, finalizing a deal with guard Patrick Beverley and are expected to waive center Tony Bradley to free up roster space, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The team is hoping Beverley can provide a spark in the locker room and add some production at point guard to help in Ball’s absence as the team makes a push for the postseason.

“The Bulls have been after me for the last couple of years,” Beverley said on his podcast Tuesday morning. “I figured I could make a playoff with the Bulls right now and kind of pump them up a little bit. The East is weak, you feel me? Not to disrespect anybody from the East, but a lot of people went West. So I’m excited , I’m excited.”

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