Chicago Bulls: It sounds like Lonzo Ball’s career just might be over

Chicago Bulls, Lonzo Ball (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls, Lonzo Ball (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The 2023 NBA Draft is officially over, and the offseason can continue raging on in the aggressive fashion it’s begun with.

Chicago was able to, in fact, do something on draft night when they traded into the second round to select Tennessee forward Julian Phillips. Arturas Karnisovas noted Phillips will step in and play the role left by Derrick Jones Jr., who opted out of the final year of his contract.

In his post-draft presser, Karnisovas also talked about a long-standing issue within the organization, and that is the injury status of point guard Lonzo Ball.

Ball has not played since January 14, 2022 and has undergone multiple surgeries to help repair his knee, including a cartilage transplant. At this point, he’s not made enough progress to even be able to run without pain. Heck, Karnisovas noted that Ball just recently began walking without crutches after his most recent procedure.

The moral of the story with Ball and Karnisovas’ update, though, should come as no surprise.

It doesn’t sound like Lonzo Ball will be playing for the Chicago Bulls again, or anyone else, for that matter

“I hope eventually we’re going to see him on a basketball court,” Karnisovas said via ESPN. “But I do not think he’s going to be back next year.”

Those words aren’t exactly inspiring. It’s not difficult to keep a somewhat positive mindset in any injury situation, but Karnisovas did not put forth much confidence in the matter when he used a phrase like, “I hope eventually…”

That doesn’t tell us Ball is anywhere close to returning, and he might never end up returning at this rate. This feels like a Brandon Roy or Grant Hill situation, at the very least. Shoot, it almost feels like Derrick Rose all over again, except instead of multiple injuries, Ball’s one injury has lasted for what seems like forever.

It’s truly a shame, what’s happened to Ball because of this injury. His presence on this Bulls team made all the difference. No one would have guessed Ball to be the x-factor when they brought him in two years ago, but he proved to be just that.

So long as he was on the court, the Bulls’ energy on both ends of the floor was rarely matched. His facilitating and vision, offensively, helped this thing “go.” Defensively, there was something about watching he and Alex Caruso on the court together. It was a thing of beauty, and their tenacity led to a multitude of fast break points.

Hopefully, for Ball’s sake, he gets the chance to suit up in the NBA again, whether or not it’s for the Bulls.

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