The bad beats continue for the Chicago Bulls as point guard Lonzo Ball needs surgery to repair a left knee injury.
Ball banged knees with an opponent in a game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday. He scored 15 points in just 24 minutes of action in an ugly 42-points loss, which was easily the worst loss of the season for the Bulls.
Ball was initially diagnosed with a bone bruise and sat out the last three games. However, the pain persisted and the swelling didn’t dissipate. Ball underwent an MRI to investigate the injury, which revealed a minor tear in his meniscus. If he opts arthroscopic surgery, he could miss six to eight weeks.
“We haven’t gotten to that point,” said head coach Billy Donovan. “I think the biggest thing right now is what are the steps that we can do to get him back and get him healthy.”
In the meantime, Ball and the Bulls are discussing treatments that don’t involve surgery. Prior to the start of the 2018-19 season, Ball had the same knee scoped when he played with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ball averages 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game this season. The Bulls signed him as a free agent to feed the ball to their new dynamic duo — Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
Chicago Bulls ER
The Bulls are turning into a season of “ER,” which was a TV series on NBC in the 1990s that took place in Chicago and put George Clooney on the map as a superstar.
In December, the Bulls failed to thwart a COVID-19 outbreak in their locker room. The NBA postponed three of their games because they did not even have the minimum eight players to fill a roster. After fending off COVID, the Bulls lost LaVine to a sprained knee last week.
The team never gave a specific timetable, but Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets had a similar sprained MCL and he was listed out four to six weeks. Anthony Davis from the Los Angeles Lakers also sprained his knee in mid-December, and he’s yet to return to action.
Now, it’s Ball who’s down with an injury. The Bulls have a deep bench, but in the era of COVID, they could get worn down very quickly.
Donovan tapped Coby White to replace LaVine, and now rookie Ayo Dosunmu could also see a significant boost in playing time. Expect to see White and Dosunmu in the starting backcourt. Alex Caruso returned to action after recovering from COVID and a lower back injury, and the Bulls badly need him if Ball misses time for surgery.
On deck: Bucks, Magic, Thunder
The Bulls (28-15) currently hold down the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but the surging Miami Heat (29-16) are right behind them, and the Brooklyn Nets (28-16) are just a half-game back.
The team is about to embark on a quick three-game road trip. The Milwaukee Bucks host the Bulls on Friday night before the team plays the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Magic and Thunder are among the worst teams in the league, but the Bulls have to play them on the road in a back-to-back situation.
The Bulls are +2200 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship, but only ninth on the futures board over at DraftKings. Despite sitting in the #1 seed for most of the season, bettors haven’t jumped on the bandwagon. The Bulls are +140 odds to win the Central Division, but are the second favorite on the board behind the Milwaukee Bucks at -125 odds.
Update: Surgery for Ball
The Bulls reported that Ball will undergo surgery to fix a slight meniscus tear in his left knee. He will now miss six to eight weeks while he recovers from knee surgery.