Guard of bulls Lonzo Ball is scheduled to undergo surgery to remove some debris from his left knee on Wednesday, hoping to be on track for a reassessment in four to six weeks.
It was all the executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas was ready to say with conviction at media day on Monday.
How quickly Ball will return or if he will even return this season was not something Karnisovas was willing to address.
“I’m not a doctor,” Karnisovas said. “I’ll just wait and see what the doctors tell me.”
This is where it gets tricky.
Ball went down in January with what was first diagnosed as a bone bruise that would need a few weeks to heal. One operation and eight months later, Ball is still sidelined and awaiting another operation.
There was some criticism of the timing of Ball’s second surgery, but Karnisovas explained that timing.
”We gave every chance [for Ball] to rehabilitate and get back on the pitch without doing surgery,” Karnisovas said. “It was our thought process, with the thought in mind of what’s best for the player. We are now at a crossroads where we need to do something else, and that is why we have chosen to go through the process.”
Ball’s teammates have been in contact with him and know how difficult this injury saga has been for him.
“I know guys have been talking about it all summer, but let’s understand he wants to be here more than anyone else,” guard Zach LaVine said. ”No one wants to be hurt. It’s hard to have people talking about it every day and when you come back.
“I just said to him, ‘Make sure you’re ready because when you come back we need you. You are our starting point keeper. You are the cog in our defense, our enabler. ”
As for a plan to replace Ball for now, Coach Billy Donovan left a contest open. second year male Ayo Dosunmu and veterans Alex Caruso and Goran Dragic are all in play, but Donovan said he wants to use practice and exhibition games to see which groups are working in sync with certain staff members.
“What are you doing, Dragic?” »
Dragic knew the question would come up during his first media session with the Bulls. Indeed, it came.
He was on the receiving end of a 2010 dunk by Derrick Roseleaving the Bulls analyst Stacey King to shout, “What are you doing, Dragic? ” after the then-Suns guard tried to block the shot.
“Yeah, that’s my nightmare,” Dragic said with a laugh.
He then explained the play all these years later.
“The funniest thing is the one time someone dunked me in my entire NBA career,” Dragic said.
Dragic said he later spoke with Rose about the play when the two were on an Adidas promotional tour.
“I said, ‘You had to do it like that?’ ” recalls Dragic. ”I was young, second year in the league. The first year, I didn’t play much. My sophomore year, I started playing a little, so I had to go for this piece. Of course, if I knew [the outcome]I would never [have challenged Rose]. But it is what it is. At least I’m on TV all the time.”