Bulls rule out Ball (knee) for remainder of season

NBA

CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will miss the remainder of the 2022-23 season, the team announced Tuesday morning, as Ball continues to experience discomfort during basketball activities despite arthroscopic knee surgery before the season.

Ball did not appear in a game this season and has not played since Jan. 14, 2022. He has undergone two surgeries on his left knee since then — in late January 2022 and again in September at the start of training camp — but despite some small improvements in recent months, he has still not been able to run, cut or jump without pain.

“Despite making significant increases in strength and function over the past several months, Ball continues to experience performance limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities,” Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas said in a team statement. “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. The focus for Ball will continue to be on the resolution of his discomfort and a full return for the 2023-24 season.”

The news of Ball’s shutdown had been expected considering Ball, 25, has not been able to ramp up basketball activity all season without experiencing discomfort. He misses the entire 2022-23 campaign, the second year of a four-year, $80 million contract with Chicago.

During his first season with the Bulls, Ball appeared in 35 games and averaged 13.0 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds and shot 42% from 3. His presence on the court as a passer, shooter and defender was a catalyst for the team getting off to a 27-13 start in 2021-22.

However, the Bulls have failed to replicate his production at point guard during his absence, going 45-56 during the regular season since Ball’s last game. Chicago entered the All-Star break on a six-game losing streak at 26-33 and sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

With Ball officially sidelined, the Bulls added some reinforcement at point guard, signing Patrick Beverley on Tuesday, and waiving center Tony Bradley to clear room on the roster. The team hopes Beverley can provide a spark in the locker room and add some production at point guard to aid in Ball’s absence as the team makes a push for the postseason.

“The Bulls have been after me the last couple years,” Beverley said on his podcast Tuesday morning. “I figured I can make a playoff push with the Bulls right now and kind of pump them up a little bit. The East kind of weak, you feel me? Not to disrespect anybody from the East, but a lot of people went to the West. So I’m excited, I’m excited.”

The Bulls also waived two-way forward Malcolm Hill on Tuesday and are expected to sign forward Terry Taylor to a two-way deal, sources tell ESPN.

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