Lonzo Ball

Artūras Karnišovas provides new injury updates for Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams

LaVine is ready to go, while Ball and Williams continue to work through recovery

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At the crux of a pivotal offseason for the Bulls, the front office is already bringing in fresh faces.

They traded Alex Caruso to the Thunder for Josh Giddey and, on Thursday, acquired versatile G-League Ignite forward, and Chicago native, Matas Buzelis with the No. 11 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Still, the Bulls are looking to return some of their own --- health-wise. After a long day, Vice President Artūras Karnišovas spoke with the media to divulge some updates on their injured players.

"He is moving along," Karnišovas said of Lonzo Ball. "We don't know what he's going to look like in a month or two. We're just going to take one step at a time and hopefully, he's going to be ready for training camp. He continues working. He comes here to work out and then he continues his work in LA. We're going to touch base next week. I think he's going to be around the team also in summer league."

Ball is seemingly at the tail end of a nearly three-year recovery from three separate knee surgeries he's undergone since January 2022. He's attempting an improbable comeback from injuries to his right knee of major proportions, including a cartilage transplant.

But, according to Karnišovas, he's nearly back to full health.

"He is clear to do pretty much everything on the floor," Karnišovas said. "We continue to strengthen him and, like I said, the next two months we'll see what it's going to look like."

With the insertion of the ball-dominant, pass-first Giddey, and the dramatic ascension of Coby White, Ball's presence on the team is questionable. What does Giddey's role mean for Ball? Or vice versa?

Upon arriving in Chicago, Giddey said he hasn't discussed roles with the team, yet. So whether or not Ball remains on the roster ahead of his comeback season remains to be seen.

"We haven’t spoken about roles yet," Giddey said. "I’ve met with (coach) Billy (Donovan) a bunch of times already and he’s been unbelievable in the conversations we’ve had. But I understand the team that’s here, there are a lot of good guards,” Giddey said. “Ayo (Dosunmu), Coby (White), Dalen (Terry), they have a lot of guys who can handle the rock. I think it will make for good competition in training camp, to push each other and make each other better. We’ll see what happens when the season comes around."

As for the other injuries on the team, Zach LaVine underwent season-ending foot surgery after 25 games played last season. Patrick Williams also underwent season-ending foot surgery after 43 games.

"Zach is fully cleared to do everything and Patrick is still on his way to recovery," Karnišovas said. "They should be ready this summer. We gotta look at his [Williams] schedule but he was planning to be ready for training camp."

LaVine told the media during the season in March he was "ahead of schedule" for his recovery timeline. Then, he was awaiting soft tissue to heal around a tendon in his foot. But now, LaVine is fully able to prepare himself this summer for the 2024-25 season.

The question is --- will that be with the Bulls? Multiple outlets, including NBC Sports Chicago, have reported the Bulls have held calls for LaVine in the trade market. With free agency opening Friday, that could expedite the answer to the question of his next destination.

Which leads us perfectly to Williams, who is set to become a restricted free agent after the Bulls reportedly offered him a qualifying offer. That means the Bulls are within their rights to match any offer Williams receives on the open market. Whether or not they will match, that's to be seen.

But on the injury front, it appears all the Bulls are heading in the right direction.

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