Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Joe Cowley

Bulls coach Billy Donovan talks real uncertainty with guard Lonzo Ball

According to Bulls coach Billy Donovan, injured point guard Lonzo Ball will stay in Los Angeles as doctors still try and figure out why his surgically-repaired left knee is not responding. Ball’s comeback attempt was shut down by the franchise last week. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

TORONTO – With just 20 regular-season games left, the Bulls point guard position remained a work in progress, and one that was still clouded with uncertainty.

On the same day that the organization announced that they had waived veteran Goran Dragic, coach Billy Donovan also shed some more details on the Lonzo Ball drama.

Ball was officially shut down by the franchise last week, going back to Los Angeles to continue seeing doctors and trying to figure out why his left knee was still experiencing pain after two surgeries within a year.

While that search for answers will continue, what Donovan didn’t want to speculate on was the idea that Ball’s knee issue could be career-threatening.

“I have not heard that we’re at that place, but the point is well taken,’’ Donovan said on Tuesday. “This has been over a year and he’s still not running. I just really feel bad for him, and the problem is we’ve had a hard time getting it resolved. And it’s been a lot of medical people involved. Doctors trying to figure out what is going on, what is causing the pain? Basically, get him to a place where he can run and do certain things athletically.’’

Ball last played in an NBA game back on Jan. 14, 2022. The knee was examined and the initial diagnosis was a bone bruise. Eventually he had surgery on the knee, and the hope was to get him back for the playoffs. That never happened, and then the real gut-punch came over the summer when the knee was still not responding when he started ramping up the running once again.

A second surgery – third in his NBA career – was done right before fall camp started in September, and again there were a lot of fingers crossed that there was now a path forward.

All that path did, however, was hit roadblock after roadblock, leaving the Bulls no choice but to shut Ball down last week.

And the waiting game is once again back on.

“I think you try and stay hopeful and optimistic that once he can get that resolved and get past that threshold, that he’d be on his way,’’ Donovan said. “But until they can solve that piece, no one has said to me, ‘Hey listen, this is where he’s at and he’ll never be the same.’ I have not heard anything like that. It’s been more like, ‘How do we get him just running?’ If he can’t run, he can’t do anything conditioning or training, and I feel bad for him because he’s tried everything, and the doctors have too.

“That’s where everyone is stuck right now: What is causing this and why? Him being in LA trying to do some treatment, now that he has been shut down for the year, I think there will be more extensive, just trying to figure it out the best they can.’’

What can’t be overlooked? When Ball did play his last game for the Bulls, they were a 27-13 team. They entered Tuesday 47-56 since.


And Dragic?


With Patrick Beverley added to the mix and the development of Ayo Dosunmu continuing, even if Dragic was healthy there would be limited minutes for the veteran.

That, as well as continued knee soreness, all played factors in the Bulls deciding to waive him before he could even finish up one full season with the franchise.

Donovan did say that he was given the impression that executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas did speak with Dragic’s representation and the split was mutual, but he also praised Dragic for the professionalism he showed.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.