Lonzo Ball says he can’t run, jump without pain; Billy Donovan not ready to name replacement for Bulls

CHICAGO — When will Lonzo Ball return? What’s Ball’s timeline? Who will start in place of him? It was clear the biggest storyline of the Chicago Bulls media day on Monday was the status of Ball, who is set to undergo another knee surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least 4-6 weeks. It’s a significant loss to a Bulls team that has been without Ball since January of last season, when he originally tore his meniscus. Back then, he was expected to come back after 4-6 weeks, but he blew past that timeline and never suited up for Chicago again last season after suffering setbacks in rehab. It was then announced last week that he was set to undergo a second surgery on the same knee on Wednesday, which means the Bulls will have to start the season without their starting point guard.

On Tuesday, Ball spoke with members of the media to share some insight about his injury, saying that he’s still unable to run, jump or even walk up a flight of stairs without feeling pain in his left knee.

“There was a point where we would warm up and stuff, and I would go through certain days and it would be fine,” Ball said via a video call with reporters. “Then whenever I got to real basketball activities, I just couldn’t do it. Unfortunately, this is what’s at hand and has to be dealt with. We feel like surgery, again, is the best option.”

Ball described his situation as unique, given the length its taken to get back on the floor.

“I’ve never felt pain like this or was able to ramp up a little bit but never fully, so definitely a unique situation,” Ball said. “The doctors and the Bulls, we’re all trying to figure out what it is. Like I said, we all came to the conclusion that it’s time for surgery.”

In regards to a timeframe on a return, Ball is more focused on healing his knee first before thinking about playing again, however he said he doesn’t think it’ll force him to miss the entire season.

“That’s not in my mind right now, but that would be the worst-case scenario,” Ball said. “I’m at a point now where I know I can’t get back out there until…

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