Bulls’ Lonzo Ball makes positive strides, but still a lot of unknowns

BOSTON – Billy Donovan has hope.

That’s going to have to do for now.

While Bulls guard Lonzo Ball and his injured left knee were making positive strides, according to the coach, there is still an unknown. It’s that unknown that the organization has no choice but to keep operating in.

“Everything is very, very optimistic right now,” Donovan said of Ball’s status on Friday. “I think there are things that he is able to do that he feels a lot freer that he did prior to the surgery. The biggest part was allowing the incision inside of his knee to heal. And then he started to do some things. He has done some running on a treadmill in the water, which is a positive sign. There are things he’s doing that he wasn’t able to do.”

But what Donovan and the medical staff still aren’t able to do was offer up a more detailed timeline.

Ball had the second surgery on Sept. 28, and was given a re-evaluation date of four-to-six weeks. While the Bulls have been working with Ball’s team evaluating him on a daily basis in that window, there are still major obstacles that have to be figured out. Many of those won’t come until the guard is able to start basketball activity and really test his discomfort level.

That’s why when Donovan was flat-out asked if he thought Ball would even play this season, he responded, “I’m hopeful.”

Vague? Cryptic? It can be taken in many ways. Or simply that too much is still up in the air.

What Donovan was clear about was that when Ball told the media leading up to the surgery that he wasn’t going to rush back, all sides involved are on that same page. This wasn’t a situation where Ball’s team wanted one thing as far as a timetable and the Bulls want another.

“When guys get second opinions and you have other really smart people in the room talking and collaborating and working together, you have more minds involved,” Donovan said. “Certainly he’s going to be the driver of how he’s feeling. And his communication is going to be very important. But along with him, the doctor in LA, our medical staff, our orthopedic surgeon, they’re all going to communicate. Very much so everybody is on the same page.”

MASH unit

The Ball injury wasn’t the only one that still had more questions than answers surrounding it.

Andre Drummond injured his left shoulder midway through the loss to San Antonio last week – a game in which he remarkably finished – and while the MRI showed it was a left shoulder sprain, the initial feeling was it would be days.

Days could now easily be weeks for the reserve center.

“Obviously the MRI was clean, it’s a sprain, but what happens is he probably had way better mobility the following morning and then there was a period of time it just got worse, which is normal with a sprain,” Donovan said, when asked why the reports went south days after the injury happened. “So he’s still having difficulty raising his arm over his head, and as a big guy that rebounds like he does, they just want to be cautious of him ever getting yanked back and it turning out to be something more significant.”

As for back-up guard Coby White, he was still dealing with a deep thigh contusion, and missed his third-straight game. White remained day-to-day.

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