Ball will wait ‘about a week' for surgery, date TBD

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Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said the clock for the six to eight week timeline that the team placed on Lonzo Ball’s return from arthroscopic knee surgery begins once the guard undergoes the procedure, which won’t be until next week at the earliest.

“They’re going to use about a week here to allow him to kind of almost rehab for surgery and do some strengthening things going into surgery,” Donovan told reporters ahead of Friday's matchup with the Bucks. “So it probably will be scheduled some time next week.”

Donovan said Ball, who has a bone bruise and meniscus injury, is in good spirits and that, ultimately, the decision for surgery was his.

“The last thing you want to do is have to go through this. But we tried two different things. He really didn’t see any significant change,” Donovan said. “Obviously, he has a bone bruise there, which we already knew. But until the surgery happens, no one really knows about the meniscus of where it’s at. The surgeons have to get in there to get a clear understanding of what’s actually causing the problem besides the bone bruise."

Ball had a similar procedure done in July 2018 when he played for the Lakers.

“I know there’s been a lot of talk about the meniscus and this and this and this. The only thing that’s really coming out on his image is you can clearly see there’s a bone bruise,” Donovan said. “We just don’t have enough image on his meniscus so we don’t know.”

As for Zach LaVine, who missed his fourth straight game with left knee soreness against Milwaukee and has already been ruled out for the Bulls' next two contests, Donovan said the guard is “doing well,” but wouldn’t specify a return date.

“He’s on the court. He’s working. He’s responded very, very well to his treatment,” Donovan said. “He continues day-by-day to get better. I don’t know exactly what the return date would be but we feel pretty good about where he’s at. I think we’re optimistic for maybe some time middle to late next week if things continue to trend the way they are.”

After stops in Orlando and Oklahoma City, the Bulls return home for a makeup game against the Raptors on Wednesday, Jan. 26, then jet to San Antonio for the Spurs on Friday.

Donovan added that Derrick Jones Jr. is running on the treadmill, but also has no return date scheduled. Javonte Green “is doing a little more every day,” according to Donovan, but still experiences discomfort in his groin when he maxes out his workout.

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