Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will rehab for a week before having knee surgery

Coach Billy Donovan said the six- to eight-week recovery timeline will start once Ball has the surgery, but doctors wanted him to take a week to strengthen and rehab the left knee first.

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Point guard Lonzo Ball is in good spirits and has confidence in the medical plan for his left knee, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.

But the recovery clock hasn’t started running yet.

The timetable of six to eight weeks won’t begin until he actually has the surgery, and that might take another week.

“They’re going to use about a week here to allow him to kind of almost rehab for surgery and do some strengthening things going into surgery,” Donovan said Friday. “After he has the surgery, that’s when the clock will start on him.’’

Donovan also stressed that even though a tear in the meniscus has been presented as the reason for the surgery the last few days, the only definite issue that has been detected in the imaging tests is a bone bruise.

“Just talking to our medical people about it, the consultation with our doctors, outside doctors, people involved in this, there’s just a feeling where I know there’s been a lot of talk about the meniscus, but the only thing that’s really coming out on his image is you can clearly see the bone bruise,’’ Donovan said. “They just don’t have enough image of his meniscus or don’t know. What they really want to do is make sure he uses his time to do some strengthening. They want to do some preparation for surgery, so that’s a reason for the week.’’

It’s not the greatest news for the Bulls, but there’s still more than enough time to get Ball back and acclimated even if the recovery takes the full two months. That scenario would get him back in mid-March and give him more than three weeks to find his rhythm before the playoffs.

Until then, Donovan has options.

One player can’t run the point, push the tempo, play top-level defense and hit the open three like Ball, but there is a competent committee on hand.

Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu have shot well from outside, Dosunmu is proving to be an excellent defender and most of the Bulls’ backcourt players understand the tempo they need to play with.

“They’re both competitive guys,’’ Donovan said. “The number of minutes Ayo has played here since Lonzo went out has given him a wealth of experience, which is great for him. And I give Coby a lot of credit for having to come off that shoulder surgery, COVID, trying to find his footing. . . . I give those two guys a lot of credit for their makeup and their mindset.’’

Zach attack

There was good news about the other Bull — Zach LaVine — with an injured left knee.

“He’s doing well,’’ Donovan said. “He’s on the court, he’s working. He has responded well to his treatment. He continues day by day to get better. I don’t know exactly his return date, maybe middle to late next week if things continue to track where they are.’’

LaVine will miss the remaining two games of the Bulls’ three-game trip but could return Wednesday, when the Bulls host the Raptors.

And the others?

Forward Javonte Green (groin) was trying to reach a certain point in his rehab process, only to have to ramp it down. 

Donovan said there has been progress, but no timetable has been given for a return.

Forward Derrick Jones Jr. (right knee) was working on a treadmill as he recuperates.

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