Lonzo Ball’s frustrating tenure with the Chicago Bulls hit another low point on Tuesday when it was announced that will not take to the court during the 2022-2023 NBA season.
Lonzo Ball has not suited up for the Chicago Bulls since January of last year. After signing a four-year contract worth over $80 million in the summer of 2021, Ball got off to a strong start as he was an impact player on both sides of the ball for a surprise team last season. However, a tear in his meniscus sidelined him for the rest of the season, including the team’s return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
Originally, it seemed like Ball’s recovery would mirror that of other athletes who have suffered a similar injury, however, after surgery Ball’s rehabilitation progressed slowly. It led to a second surgery and the 25-year-old not being ready for the start of the new season. As the months on the calendar passed, little was revealed about when Ball could again suit up for the Chicago Bulls.
While the organization and fan base were hopeful for a return, recent signs pointed to that being unlikely, and the Chicago Bulls confirmed that fact on Tuesday in a press release via NBA.com.
“Despite making significant increases in strength and function over the past several months, Bulls guard Lonzo Ball continues to experience performance-limiting discomfort during participation in high-level basketball-related activities. Considering the required time period to achieve the necessary level of fitness to return to play and the current stage of the NBA season, Ball will not return this season.”– NBA
Lonzo Ball injury effect on Chicago Bulls and replacement plans for the rest of the season
The Lonzo Ball injury has had a massive effect on the Chicago Bulls. His absence from the lineup seemed to play a key role in their first-round ouster from last year’s NBA playoffs and became even more apparent during a disappointing performance for the team this season.
- Lonzo Ball contract: two years and $41.9 million remaining
The Bulls have the eleventh-best record in the Eastern Conference and reside two games out from a spot in the NBA Play-In tournament heading into Tuesday. It is a steep fall after finishing with the sixth seed last season. The team’s chemistry has been poor and drama between star Zach LaVine and head coach Billy Donovan has hovered over the team.
With Ball out, Donovan has tried to lean on guards Coby White and Goran Dragic to fill in for their expensive point guard. However, neither have delivered. Recently, 2021 second-round pick Ayo Dosunmo has gotten the chance to start as point guard for the team. But that could soon change with the Monday acquisition of veteran defensive ace Patrick Beverley.
- Lonzo Ball stats (2021-2022): 13.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.8 SPG, 42% 3PT
The former Lakers, Clippers, and Timberwolves’ talent should add more defense and grit, but he is not the floor general the team needs on offense.