There wasn’t a lot for Lonzo Ball to say at his third media day as a Chicago Bull.
The updates have been fundamental. Ball mentioned he’s “about halfway” by rehabilitation from his third knee surgical procedure and has skilled “no setbacks” because the cartilage transplant process in March.
For Ball, no information is sweet information — or a minimum of higher than he’s used to receiving.
Ball will not be anticipated to play for the Bulls this season. It will mark his second consecutive season with out recording a single minute on the courtroom. But if all goes in response to plan, Ball and the Bulls are hopeful the purpose guard’s years-long ordeal will conclude in time for the 2024-25 season.
“It’s not really a set timeline, but I pretty much have this whole year to get as healthy as possible and be ready to go next season,” Ball mentioned. “I’m taking each week just trying to stay positive.”
An absence of setbacks is a best-case state of affairs for Ball, who hasn’t performed since Jan. 14, 2022. He has undergone three surgical procedures within the 20 months since to deal with lingering ache and discomfort that severely restricted the mobility in his left knee.
At 25, Ball nonetheless is taken into account one of many league’s highest-ceiling level guards, however the burden of lacking two full seasons has been a pressure.
“I just miss playing,” he mentioned. “It’s a big part of my life that’s gone. I’ve been playing organized hoops since I was 6. So to be out these last two years, that’s been the toughest part, just not being able to physically get on the court and put the jersey on and go to battle.”
An extra problem for Ball is to stay built-in with the Bulls roster as he faces a second consecutive 12 months off the courtroom — all whereas balancing a rehab program based mostly two time zones away.
Ball plans to separate time this season between Chicago and Los Angeles, the place his surgeon and rehab specialists are positioned. As the workforce seeks a alternative as the place to begin guard this season, Ball mentioned he’s keen to supply steerage and help.
“I’m still a part of the team,” he mentioned. “I’m an open book and I’m here to help in any way I can. If it’s taking guys one on one or talking in front of the team, I can do any of it.”
Despite the daunting timeline for his eventual return to the courtroom, Ball mentioned he’s buoyed by the clear expectations set for him this season.
This time subsequent 12 months, Ball mentioned, he’s decided to sit down in the identical chair earlier than the media — however this time to put out his plan to return to the courtroom and retake the place to begin guard place.
“Everything happens for a reason. I couldn’t control getting hurt or not getting hurt or anything like that,” Ball mentioned. “It’s simply one thing that occurred to me. It’s a part of my profession.
“I try to stay positive. I don’t look at the negatives. I try to think about what I can do to get better and that’s how I wake up every day and live.”