Bulls coach Billy Donovan talks real uncertainty with guard Lonzo Ball

While the organization has not reached the point where there is a feeling that his left knee issues are career-threatening, there are concerns with the fact that doctors still can’t figure out what exactly is wrong with Ball. The search continues in Los Angeles.

SHARE Bulls coach Billy Donovan talks real uncertainty with guard Lonzo Ball
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 only 20 regular-season games left, the Bulls’ point-guard position remained a work in progress clouded in uncertainty.

On the same day that the Bulls waived veteran Goran Dragic, coach Billy Donovan also shed more details on the Lonzo Ball saga.

Ball was officially shut down last week and went back to Los Angeles to see doctors and figure out why his left knee was still experiencing pain after two surgeries within a year.

While that search for answers will continue, Donovan didn’t want to speculate on the notion 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 Tuesday. “It has been over a year, and he’s still not running.

‘‘I just feel really bad for him, and the problem is we’ve had a hard time getting it resolved. And there have been a lot of medical people involved. Doctors trying to figure out what is going on, what is causing the pain? Basically getting him to a place where he can run and do certain things athletically.’’

Ball last played in an NBA game 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 during the summer when his knee still wasn’t responding when he ramped up the running again.

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

But Ball hit roadblock after roadblock, leaving the Bulls no choice but to shut him down last week. And the waiting game is back on.

“I think you try to 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 as far as 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 L.A. trying to do some treatment now that he has been shut down for the year, I think that will be more extensive, just trying to figure it out the best they can.’’

It can’t be overlooked that when Ball did play his last game for the Bulls, they were a 27-13 team. They’re 47-57 since.

And Dragic?

With the addition of Patrick Beverley and the continued development of Ayo Dosunmu, even if Dragic were healthy, there would be limited minutes for him.

That and continued knee soreness were factors in the Bulls deciding to waive him before he could even finish a full season with the franchise.

Donovan said 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. He also praised Dragic for the professionalism he displayed.

The Latest
Funny at first, the racket during their many intimate moments now disturbs people and keeps them up at night.
The plans, according to the team, will include “additional green and open space with access to the lakefront for families and fans on the Museum Campus.”
Local School Councils at several specialty elementary schools say they are facing budget cuts — a claim backed up by a WBEZ/Sun-Times analysis.
Although sauerkraut is perhaps the best-known national dish of Germany, and has been a staple of the German diet since the 1600s, it didn’t originate in Germany.
In beautiful and brutal sports drama, Zendaya portrays a coach playing sophisticated games with her two charismatic suitors.