Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball, according to head coach Billy Donovan, will again ramp up his rehab after he arthroscopic knee surgery in January. The news also comes after Ball had to roll back his rehab 10 days ago and stop running for a period of time, delaying his possible return to the court.
Donovan emphasized this will be a gradual process. Ball won’t go from “0 to 60.” https://t.co/5uH3ZJqvHa
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 31, 2022
Per Donovan, Ball’s ramping up process will not be “zero to 60,” perhaps indicating that a return is not imminent. Ball has not played since Jan. 14 and was sidelined with what the team originally described as a bone bruise. When treatment did not help Ball recover, he had to undergo surgery for a partially torn meniscus.
Chicago plays on Thursday against the Clippers and, after that game, will have five games left in the regular season. Three of those games — April 2 vs. the Miami Heat, April 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks and April 6 against the Boston Celtics — are against teams above the Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings. Currently, the Bulls are in a battle to remain in the top-six of the Eastern Conference, as they are jockeying for position with the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers to remain above the play-in tournament. Entering Thursday’s game, the fifth-place Bulls have a two-game lead on the seventh-place Cavaliers.
If Ball can come back at some point and contribute, it would give Chicago a needed shot in the arm if they hope to make any noise in the playoffs. How realistic that is, however, remains unclear even as he begins to ramp up his rehab again and theoretically get closer to a return.