Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is doubtful for the beginning of the 2022-23 season due to lingering knee pain, according to ESPN's Jamal Collier and Ramona Shelburne. Ball suffered a torn meniscus last season that knocked him out for the year in January. While the Bulls believe that his knee is structurally sound, he continued to deal with pain as he ramped up his basketball activities during offseason rehab. Ball will return to Chicago next week for further testing. The Bulls begin training camp at the end of the month.
This is just the latest setback for Ball, whose entire career has been marred by injuries. He has averaged roughly 50 games per season in his five years as a professional, and if these injuries persist, his longevity in the league will likely be limited.
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That would be a shame considering how good the Bulls looked last season with a healthy Ball. When their full roster was available, Chicago held onto the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for quite some time. Ball and Alex Caruso formed one of the best defensive backcourts in basketball. DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine provided the scoring punch, and for the first time in a decade, the Bulls looked like legitimate contenders.
If Ball can't get healthy this season, Chicago's already slim chances of making a genuine title push shrink significantly. He has three years left on his contract, so it is imperative that the Bulls get him healthy as quickly as possible.