CHICAGO — Although Bulls guard Lonzo Ball said he has started seeing some improvement recently while rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee, he is still not ready to get back on the court to participate in basketball activities.
« It’s been a crazy journey, crazy therapy, » Ball told reporters at a charity event in Chicago on Wednesday. « Everything is just trying to get back on the court. Unfortunately, I’m not there yet. »
Ball has not played in a game this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in September. It was his second procedure this year following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in January that sidelined him for the rest of the 2021-22 season.
There is not timeline for his return and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that there are no guarantees Ball plays at all this season.
« Day by day. I’m trying to remain positive and just keep getting better, » Ball said. « Even if it’s an inch better every day. Just trying not to move backwards. »
Ball attempted to run on an antigravity treadmill recently, but the team had to pull back on his rehab because he was still experiencing pain, according to coach Billy Donovan. Ball has done some spot-up shooting, but until the Bulls can get him to start running, cutting and jumping without issues, the team has not placed a timeline for his return.
Before his second surgery near the start of training camp, Ball said he was having trouble walking up flights of stairs without pain, an issue he said on Wednesday has at least started to improve.
« These last couple weeks, I’m finally seeing some improvement, which is nice to see, » Ball said. « It’s still not obviously where I want to be, but it’s definitely a positive light at the end of the tunnel. »
The Bulls snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory on Tuesday night in Miami, but the team enters Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta 12-18, currently outside of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. Chicago has struggled to replicate the production Ball, who has not played since Jan. 14, gave them during his first 35 games with the Bulls where he averaged 13.0 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 42.3% from 3.
« I think we have a great team and I know the things I can do to help the team out, » Ball said. « But unfortunately, I’m not on the court right now and I feel like we’re all feeling it. »