Lonzo Ball's name has resurfaced recently, in light of his rehab improving to a painless state in day-to-day activities.
He joined the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast to talk about his improving rehab this year.
"Definitely doing much better in rehab," Ball said. "It's been a long process, obviously, longer than I'd like it to be. It's definitely cut out in stages and I keep checking off the boxes I'm supposed to and getting better each week."
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Head coach Billy Donovan described the specifics of Ball's rehab progress recently. Ball was supposed to start cutting and sprinting in January, but he hasn't been able to check that box up to this point.
"He’s doing a lot of mobility work," Donovan said. "He’s doing different things on the court. He hasn’t done any sprinting yet. I think everybody medically is pleased with the way it’s progressing. Some of these movements he’s doing now caused him pain before and aren’t causing him pain. I know there was talk in January of him sprinting. I don’t want to sit here and say he’s behind schedule. I don’t think that’s the case because it’s going well.
"But with the injury and the amount of time that he’s been out, he may miss some target dates here and there. But I don’t think anybody is alarmed about it. I think everybody is pretty pleased with the things he’s doing. The biggest thing for him that hopefully will help him get up to sprinting and running is to build up strength in his leg. That’s what they’re trying to do right now. But in terms of modalities and things he has done, he has responded really well. Until he starts running and cutting and moving, he’s not there yet because they want to get the strength back in his leg."
While Ball's improving rehab is encouraging, he's been out for longer than expected. Last month, he passed the two-year mark of the last time he played in the NBA back in January 2021.
Since then, he's had three knee surgeries. The latest, of which, was a cartilage transplant in his right knee --- a procedure unheard of for professional athletes to make a return. But that light at the end of the tunnel is the main thing that keeps him going in rehab.
"I'm just trying to stay positive first and foremost," Ball said. "I think that's the first part. Making sure your mind is still in it. And then making sure your body follows that. That's what I've been doing, taking it day by day. And just giving myself the best chance possible to come back.
"I would say the main thing that keeps me going is knowing the main goal and that's to get back and play. The more you pout, the worse it's going to be. Stay positive, keep your head down, keep working."