He teamed with DeMar DeRozan to get Chicago off to a very strong start, but when he tore his meniscus in January, its season went downhill fast.
Ball underwent surgery to fix the injury, and he was expected to miss six to eight weeks, which had fans expecting him back well before the start of the playoffs.
Instead, he was slow to heal, and when he kept dealing with pain during his rehab process, the Bulls decided to shut him down for the year.
At the time, most likely expected him to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 campaign, but he continued to lag in his recovery.
Now, it has been announced that Ball will travel to Los Angeles to have an arthroscopic debridement of his troublesome left knee, and that he will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks.
Bulls announce Lonzo Ball will undergo surgery on his left knee and will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks pic.twitter.com/gQN8hz0aHY
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 21, 2022
This is the latest in a series of bad health news not just for the Bulls, but also for Ball, as he has seemingly never been able to remain healthy for an extended stretch.
Ball Has Had Injury Woes For Years
Ball, a native of Chino Hills, Calif., was the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft out of the University of California, Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Lakers.
It looked like a made-for-TV story for the 6-foot-6 guard who grew up just over 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
The problem was his father, who kept bragging about how good Ball was and created an insane amount of hype around him.
He didn’t exactly come close to meeting that hype, as he averaged 10.2 points and 7.2 assists per game as a rookie while shooting a paltry 36.0 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from 3-point range.
LaVar Ball: “Lonzo Ball is better than Steph Curry.”
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) November 16, 2017
In the four seasons since, Ball has dramatically improved his outside shooting, hitting an outstanding 42.3 percent of his attempts from downtown last year.
However, the rest of his game hasn’t grown, making it clear to rational observers that he’ll, in all likelihood, never make an All-Star team.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, as he’s a good player that many teams wouldn’t exactly mind having.
His ability to lock down opponents defensively, handle the ball, up-tempo the ball and hit the open man make him a lower-tier starting point guard in the NBA.
But the one thing that greatly detracts from his value is his injury woes.
As a rookie, Ball sprained his MCL and was expected to miss up to three weeks, but instead, he was out for about five weeks.
The following year, he suffered a severe ankle sprain in January, and it looked like the type of sprain that would sideline him for four to six weeks, but it turned out to be a grade 3 sprain that knocked him out for the balance of the schedule.
In five seasons, Ball has failed to appear in as many as 65 games in a season, although he did play in 63 of a possible 72 games during the 2019-20 campaign.
At the time of his latest injury, the Bulls were in first place in the Eastern Conference, and although they were able to maintain that spot for a few more weeks, they went into freefall after the All-Star break.
Without Ball’s skill set, Chicago isn’t a lock to reach the playoffs this season, and it may have to go through the play-in tournament just to get there.