CHICAGO — Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is expected to miss training camp and is doubtful for the start of the regular season because of lingering pain and discomfort following meniscus surgery in his left knee in January, sources told ESPN on Friday. .
While a source reiterated that Ball’s knee is on the mend after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 28, he continued to experience pain while attempting basketball activities as he spent the summer rehabbing in Los Angeles.
Ball will be in Chicago next week to undergo further evaluation by the team, but he likely won’t be able to participate when the Bulls begin training camp later this month, sources said.
Throughout the summer, the Bulls remained vague about a potential timeline for Ball’s recovery as he saw multiple knee specialists to determine the cause and treatments for lingering pain and discomfort, said of sources.
“He’s getting better, maybe not as fast as we’d like,” Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas said in July during a broadcast for one of the team’s summer league games. “But he’s getting better.”
When Ball suffered the initial injury in January, the Bulls announced an initial recovery timeline of six to eight weeks. However, Ball’s knee never responded to several attempts by the team to boost his activity for a return to the court at the end of last season.
Ball was eventually ruled out for the rest of the season in early April, limited to a career-low 35 games. In his exit interview at the end of that month, Ball acknowledged that his knee recovery had “been stalled.”
Before the injury, Ball was one of the sparks of the Bulls’ fast start, averaging 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
Chicago owned a 27-13 record when Ball appeared in his final game on Jan. 14 before the Bulls finished a 19-23 stretch without him and lost their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks in five games.
Ball, who turns 25 in October, had a procedure to repair a meniscus tear in both knees in 2018 while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he returned for the start of training camp then.