Lonzo Ball hasn’t seen an NBA court since January 2022. During a career year for the 2017 second-overall pick, he went down with a meniscus tear in his left knee. The injury needed surgery and Ball was ruled out of the 2022-23 season.
Ball’s career has been largely defined by injury. He missed almost half of his sophomore season after undergoing surgery to fix the same injury that ruled him out of the most recent NBA season. Partially as a result of this, Ball is on his third NBA team despite only being drafted in 2017.
The Bulls are currently in a state of flux, having made the playoffs just twice in the last eight seasons. Furthermore, the team has been unable to stay consistent. They regressed six games in terms of wins in 2022/23 compared to the season prior. Now, they will have to play without Ball for at least another season.
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No Ball For The Bulls In 2023/24
Per the Bulls’ VP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas, Lonzo Ball will not be playing next season. “Our expectation is that he’s not coming back next season,” Karnisovas said following Thursday’s NBA draft. “He’s going to continue on his recovery. If he comes back, it would be great. But we’re just going to treat this offseason and get ready for the season that he’s not going to be back.”
Ball’s rehabilitation has reportedly been “incremental” since sustaining the injury in January 2022. However, the team noted that his most recent surgery has given Ball the best chance to resume his NBA career at some point in the future. Karnisovas further noted that Ball had recently begun to walk without crutches.
However, this progress will be of little comfort to Bulls fans, who are preparing themselves for another rough season. Beyond Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, the Bulls had just one player who averaged more than 15 points per game last season. Furthermore, this comes at a time when the Eastern Conference continues to grow more competitive. In the recent 2023 NBA Draft, the Bulls made just one selection – taking Tennessee’s Julian Phillips in the second round.
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Other Players Seek To Make Injury Bounce Backs
However, there is better news in regard to injuries for a number of other players in the basketball landscape. Khris Middleton, who was limited to 33 games last season, is hoping for a full bounce-back season. Furthermore, Middleton recently declined his $40 million player option to test free agency, though re-signing with the Bucks remains an option.
Further south, the Pelicans will be hoping to get a full season out of Zion Williamson. Williamson, the first-overall pick in 2019, has played just 29 games over the last two seasons. While he appears to be staying in New Orleans for the time being, his future with the team could very much depend on whether he stays healthy enough to contribute.
Elsewhere, there’s good news for the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. Head coach Geno Auriemma has announced that he expects Paige Bueckers to be ready for the start of the season. Bueckers, who won National Player of the Year as a freshman, has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons. After playing 17 games as a sophomore, Bueckers missed the entire 2022-23 season with an ACL tear.
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