Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is still sidelined due to a lingering knee injury and there is no guarantee that he plays at all this season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Even in the best case scenario, Ball is not expected to play before the All-Star break in mid-February.
Ball has not played since Jan. 14 last season, when he suffered what the team originally diagnosed as a knee bruise. Further evaluation revealed a torn meniscus, and Ball underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out six-to-eight weeks. He had a setback during his rehab, however, and was later declared out for the remainder of the season.
Unfortunately, more rest and rehab during the offseason did not solve the problem. Unable to run or jump without pain, he underwent another surgery in late September that came with a timeline of four-to-six weeks. He has been spotted shooting free throws and working in the weight room in the practice facility in recent weeks, but he doesn't appear close to a return.
Ball's mysterious knee problem is one of a number of problems for this Bulls team that entered Wednesday night's action in 11th place in the Eastern Conference at 11-15. They are last in the league in 3-point attempts per game at 28.6, which has been a big factor in their middling offense that ranks 19th in the league with a 110.7 offensive rating. Close games have also been problematic, as their bizarre and heartbreaking defeat to the Atlanta Hawks over the weekend showed; they are 2-8 in games decided by five points or fewer.
If the Bulls are still outside of even the play-in tournament picture by the All-Star break, it may be best to just keep Ball out for the rest of the season.