Before Monday's tipoff against the Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said guard Lonzo Ball is progressing in his rehabilitation from his Jan. 28 arthroscopic knee procedure, but also is still dealing with pain from a bone bruise in the area.
That was the team's initial diagnosis for Ball's left knee when the guard missed two games in mid-January. Ball eventually had the procedure done to also address a small meniscus tear, at which point the Bulls estimated a six- to eight-week timeline until his return.
Friday will mark seven weeks since Ball underwent his procedure.
"I don't think there's any setbacks. I think the biggest thing he's dealing with right now is before he went in there, the one thing that definitely that came back on the MRI was a bone bruise. And I think that that bone bruise is definitely healing. It's getting better. But I do think that that's where there's probably been some pain," Donovan said of Ball. "Now, he's running. He's doing some lateral work. But he's not doing it full speed. And I think the feeling is the healing of that is going to be really really critical to allow him to get into that full-speed running vertically and moving horizontally. That's what we've gotta get him to.
"He's progressing and getting better. It's probably been a little bit slower because of what he's dealing with with that (bone bruise). But he's not a guy that I have any idea of when he'd be back until he can get to a point where he can sprint."
Donovan said he can't fully address a return-to-play timeline until Ball advances to full sprinting and cutting. March 25 would mark eight weeks since Ball's procedure, and Donovan downplayed a question on whether his return wouldn't come until April.
"I couldn't say that. I would have a better feeling once... they do clear him to start sprinting," Donovan said. "He does a little bit more each day, but he's still not at a point where he's actually sprinting."