In sports and in the NBA, injuries are an unfortunate and all too common part of the game. They can derail seasons, sometimes careers, and force organizations to make certain decisions that can hurt their chances for a championship and impact them financially.
For example, the linebacker of the Buffalo Bills, Von Miller, recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and is now out for the season. In other instances, there are cases like that of cornerback Byron Jones of the Miami Dolphins, who has been experiencing numerous setbacks in his return from surgery and has yet to play this season.
The Chicago Bulls are dealing with a similar issue to that of the Miami Dolphins with their starting guard, Lonzo Ball. Ball hasn’t put on a Bulls uniform since January and is approaching a full year of inactivity.
What happened to Lonzo Ball?
In January of 2022, Lonzo Ball suffered a knee injury, which was initially believed to be knee soreness. Five days after that diagnosis, it was reported by NBA reporter for The Athletic, Shams Charania via Twitter, that Ball had a small meniscus tear in his left knee.
Soon after the diagnosis, the Bulls announced that Ball would undergo arthroscopic surgery in his left knee and a six to eight week timetable for a potential return. Unfortunately, the injury would end up ending Ball’s 2021-2022 season and impact the Bulls hopes for a deep playoff run.
According to Dr. Michael S. George of the KSF Orthopaedic Center in Houston, he told SportingNews.com that there are a few things that could point to Ball’s lengthy recovery.
"The surgery in January was reportedly to treat a meniscus tear. The usual recovery for such a surgery is typically four to six weeks,” George said. “The fact that he was not able to return by the end of last year suggests that the knee still had residual issues, which could range from continued inflammation to more meniscus tearing to cartilage damage and arthritis."
George went on to say that if Ball has avoided those issues that could arise, he will make a full recovery and have no long-term issues. However, if there is cartilage damage to Ball’s surgically repaired knee, this could be an issue that lingers and sideline’s him again in the future.
Could Lonzo Ball return this season?
There is always a chance for players to come back from injury sooner than expected, and it seems as though despite all of the setbacks, the Bulls remain hopeful for Ball’s return in early 2023.
Currently, the Bulls are 4th in the Central Division with a 10-14 record, and 12th in the overall Eastern Conference standings. Should they find themselves in a position to make a run in the playoffs, look for them to make an acquisition at the trading deadline if Ball’s recovery continues to be delayed.