What Happened To Lonzo Ball?

What Happened To Lonzo Ball?

Chicago Bulls fans faced another disappointing season this year as the team failed once again to snag an NBA playoff berth. Now that the team is squarely in the offseason, management has a lot of decisions to make about the future. One of the most important of those questions revolves around the health of star point guard Lonzo Ball after an injury in 2022. So what happened to him?

On Jan. 14 2022, Ball was playing in a regular season game against the Golden State Warriors. He injured his knee and was taken out of the game. The Bulls then revealed the star player had torn his meniscus. This is a fairly common injury for basketball players and occurs when the cartilage pad between the shinbone and thigh bone gets torn.

The long recovery

Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

What was supposed to be a routine injury turned into a two-year odyssey for Ball, involving multiple surgeries and rehabs. Following the injury, the Bulls announced that Ball would need surgery and would be out for six to eight weeks. By Feb. 21 of that year, Ball posted an Instagram video of a dance he had with his young daughter, causing many to believe he was getting better.

About a month later, Bulls coach Billy Donovan announced that Ball was basically at an impasse with his recovery and wasn’t getting any better. “There’s no setbacks. It’s still the same thing. He has not been able to do anything full speed, and anytime we get him close to that, there’s discomfort,” Donovan told the Chicago Tribune at the time.

The solution was to let Ball rest and by not pushing him to run at full speed so the swelling could go down. However, by April 5 he still wasn’t getting any better, and he was taken off the roster for the rest of the season. Three months later in July, Bulls management admitted that Ball’s recovery was going slower than anyone expected.

Things got worse in September when he went through another surgery, with both Ball and doctors at a loss for what was going on. “It’s something that I’ve never dealt with,” Ball said at the time. “Even the doctors are a little surprised about it. We’re all working together to figure this thing out.”

That meant more time off the court. Donovan tempered expectations and announced that he could be away for as many as ten months. By the end of November, Ball was unable to perform basic maneuvers like jumping, cutting or running. At this point he’d been out for about a year. By the end of Jan. 2023, it started to look like he wasn’t going to be back for another season.

Fast forward to March and he had a third surgery, this time a cartilage transplant in his left knee. This would sideline him for the rest of that season as well. Ball, who attended UCLA and averaged 13 points a game when he was in college, has now not played in an NBA game since that fateful day back in 2022. This brings us to the present day.

Despite not playing, Ball picked up the $21.4 million option on his 2024-2025 contract, which will be the last year of his $80 million deal with the Bulls. After that he becomes a free agent. So what has he been doing with all his free time? Podcasting, of course.

The WAE Show

Earlier this week, Ball released his new podcast called The WAE Show and provided an injury update. WAE, by the way, stands for What An Experience. Here’s what he said: “It’s coming a long. Week by week. It’s improving, so that’s all that I can ask for. It’s still not where I want it to be. Out of 100, I’d probably say I’m about 70. Good enough to play, but can still get better I feel like. Still got a long summer ahead of me. Definitely looking forward to the future.”

The difficult part about this is that fans have heard the same thing for the past two years. He’s getting better! Wait he’s not getting better! Wait maybe he is! The hardest part is that Ball was the second pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He has mountains of potential and represents a significant investment for the Bulls, one the team could’ve used on another player who hasn’t been sidelined for so long.

On the other hand, he will be a force to be reckoned with if he comes back at full power. Time will tell which one of those two scenarios will come to pass.

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