Karnišovas: Bulls' Lonzo Ball update to come after All-Star break
Lonzo Ball update to come after All-Star break originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
A new update is set to come regarding the status of Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball, Vice President Artūras Karnišovas told reporters in New York on Thursday.
When asked about an update on Ball, Karnišovas' response was consistent with what the Bulls have given, as far as updates to his status this season.
"I don't know regarding Zo [Lonzo]," Karnišovas said. "I think he's making small improvements. But, we're still going to have more information for you probably post-All-Star weekend. And we're going to inform you about that."
Ball hasn't seen an NBA court since January of 2022.
The electric point guard has continued to rehab the same knee he had surgery on in January of last year and during this past offseason in September. The latter surgery was an "arthroscopic debridement" done to treat a nerve in his knee, which at the time his camp was "confident" solved the issue.
Yet, Ball's return has included small, baby steps to improving the discomfort he's continued to feel in his knee since his second surgery. He posted a video of him dunking, boxing and running on a treadmill earlier this season, but has not been slotted to return to the floor yet this season.
Based on the lack of updates surrounding his status, his minimal progression and the limited time left after the All-Star break, it's reasonable to believe Ball's update will not pertain to him finishing out this season.
As Ball most definitely heads into the All-Star break without a formidable chance of returning to the floor, the update will likely deem him out for the rest of the season. Seeing as he's made little progress, and has no timeline set in stone, it's only plausible to assume he won't play this season.
As it pertains to his long-term outlook, Ball did concur with the idea that this injury will not affect a future return to the court, and does not see it as a "career-threatening" ailment, as he detailed to reporters in Paris.
“This is my third surgery, I had two last year," Ball said to NBC Sports Chicago. "It’s about building that strength back up and the confidence in myself. I’m only 25, so I’m not too worried about (career-ending injury.)”
MORE: Ball has no concern knee issues are career-threatening
Lonzo's father, LaVar, expressed similar confidence in his son's eventual return to the floor on Stacey King's podcast, Gimme the Hot Sauce, saying, "He's gonna get his stuff together and (he's) gonna be ready to play and do his thing again."
As far as the Bulls' future in this situation, a source told NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson the Bulls have some insurance on Ball's four-year, $80 million contract, if Ball never saw the floor again. The amount of the insurance was not revealed to Johnson.
Karnišovas plans to evaluate this group over the last 28 games, as the team stood pat at the trade deadline.
In the short term, the Bulls will look to the buyout market for potential support in the backcourt. They've already expressed interest in signing Russell Westbrook, who is awaiting a buyout from the Utah Jazz.
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