Lonzo Ball's rehabilitation from left knee surgery had been trending negatively for some time. But now it's official.
The Chicago Bulls' starting point guard will miss the remainder of the 2021-22 season (playoffs included), the team announced Wednesday morning. He will continue to undergo daily treatment in preparation for the 2022-23 campaign.
Ball underwent surgery to address a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee on Jan. 28, which initially carried a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. But discomfort in the knee persisted each time the Bulls attempted to ramp Ball's running up to full-speed, in large part due to the bone bruise, leading to multiple weeks of setbacks and eventually a shutdown.
It's no secret the Bulls have missed Ball. Since he last appeared in a game on Jan. 14, the team's perimeter defense and 3-point shooting have precipitously dipped, and the Bulls have fallen in the standings, in turn.
"He brings a different type of swagger to us when he plays," teammate DeMar DeRozan said after the Bulls' 127-106 loss to the Bucks on Tuesday. "From his passing, his IQ, his capability to knock down shots... The whole dynamic of the game changes with 'Zo out there."
It's true. But, ultimately, time ran out on him being able to make the necessary turnaround.
Ball appeared in 35 games in the first season of the four-year, $80 million contract he signed with the Bulls last offseason. He averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and a career-high 1.8 steals while shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range.