Bulls Notes: Ball, Replacements, DeRozan, Green

There are concerns that Lonzo Ball might miss all of next season after deciding to undergo a cartilage transplant in his left knee. Bulls coach Billy Donovan didn’t offer a specific prognosis, but he admitted Ball is facing “a long rehab,” writes Andrew Seligman of The Associated Press.

“For me to say, ‘I have no hope that he’s ever gonna play here again’ or ‘Yeah, he’s definitely going to be back,’ I just don’t know,” Donovan told reporters on Friday.

The procedure will be the third for Ball on his left knee in the past 14 months. He hasn’t played since January of 2022, but Donovan said his work ethic and attitude haven’t changed.

“Even though he comes in, he’s around the team for a period of time, there is a lot of time that he’s away from everybody,” Donovan said. “Just having to come to grips of not playing is really, really hard, I think, probably for him to absorb. But he handles himself incredibly well. He’s so consistent all the time with his spirit and disposition and what he’s tried to do every step of the way to get back.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Ball’s latest setback will force the Bulls to address their point guard situation this summer, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, who adds that it’s hard to understand why the team wasn’t more aggressive in finding a replacement at the trade deadline. With no cap space and limited draft assets, the trade market appears to be the team’s best option. Mayberry notes that it’s now more likely that the Bulls will try to re-sign some combination of free agent guards Patrick Beverley, Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White.
  • DeMar DeRozan didn’t consider sitting out tonight’s game after playing 52 minutes and scoring 49 points in Friday’s double-overtime contest, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. With 13 games remaining and the Bulls fighting for a play-in spot, DeRozan understands there’s no time for load management. “I hoop all summer for free,” he said. “Why not do it when you’re getting paid for it? I’m looking forward to it.”
  • Javonte Green is trending toward a return after missing more than two months following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, Johnson tweets. Green was able to practice Friday with the Bulls’ G League affiliate, and Donovan said team doctors want to see how he responds to numerous practice sessions.
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