Bulls Notes: Ball, LaVine, Dragić, White, Drummond

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan provided a positive update on Lonzo Ball on Friday night, though he admitted that there’s still no timetable for the point guard’s return, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. As Johnson notes, it has been a little more than five weeks since the team announced that Ball would be reevaluated in four-to-six weeks following another knee surgery.

Everything is very, very optimistic right now. I think there are things that he is able to do that he feels a lot freer that he did prior to the surgery,” Donovan said. “The biggest part was allowing the incision inside of his knee to heal. And then he started to do some things. He has done some running on a treadmill in the water, which is a positive sign. There are things he’s doing that he wasn’t able to do.

Don’t have any timeline on when he’ll really be able to ramp up, but things have progressed. And everything that I’ve gotten from the medical guys has been positive. Obviously, he’s a ways away from running and cutting and doing all those things. But there is optimism that this hopefully has helped him.”

According to Johnson, Donovan said Ball’s discomfort has eased, but until he begins running and cutting again, the team won’t really know where he stands as far as a potential timetable, since Ball will still need to work on conditioning after missing so much time. He last played on January 14.

Ball’s knee issues date back to a torn meniscus that limited him to just 35 games last season. He was originally projected to return a few weeks after the surgery, but a bone bruise disrupted his rehab process.

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Two-time All-Star Zach LaVine (knee) was able to play his third game in four nights in Friday’s loss to the Celtics, which is a positive development. However, it appears as though he’s still trying to regain his finishing ability near the basket, with Johnson noting (via Twitter) that LaVine took exclusively jump shots in the first half. When Johnson (Twitter link) asked LaVine after the game if he felt he had his normal explosion on drives, LaVine said he doesn’t, but he’s not worried about it. “Obviously, I’m not all the way back yet. I feel that. I’m not going to lie. But it’s coming. I’m not scared or anything like that. It’s seven games in. I feel fine,” he said.
  • Veteran point guard Goran Dragić, a free agent addition over the summer, says he loves his fit with the Bulls after a tumultuous ’21/22 season. “I enjoy it so much here. You get to a new team, new city, new people, and it’s such a nice vibe for me,” Dragić told Johnson in an interview for NBC Sports Chicago. “Good communication with Billy, who is a great coach. I just feel happy. I think that’s the most important thing, especially at the end of your career. That you’re productive and happy.” The 36-year-old also said he’d consider continuing his career beyond this season as long as he’s healthy.
  • In addition to Ball, Donovan also provided updates on guard Coby White (thigh) and center Andre Drummond (shoulder sprain), who remain sidelined. According to Johnson (Twitter link), Donovan said White has “a significant deep thigh contusion” and is still in a lot of pain, while Drummond is having difficult raising his arm above his head. He didn’t suffer a torn labrum or dislocation like the team feared he might have, but he’s not close to returning to action.
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