It's clear to the Chicago Bulls that they will not have starting point guard Lonzo Ball when training camp starts next week. It's also been made apparent to the organization that the versatile guard is unlikely to be on the court once the regular season starts next month. So, the Bulls and their fans have been asking: when can we expect Lonzo Ball to return?
The answer, unfortunately, isn't straightforward. While the team has not given a specific timetable for Ball's return, they have said that he is still recovering from the torn meniscus he suffered in his left knee back in January. The good news is that Ball has not left any stone unturned to play Bulls basketball again. Whether it's seeing specialists, aggressively rehabilitating, or just plain resting, Ball has done everything in his power to get back on the court.
While there is some progress, the cold hard fact is that the Bulls do not know when Ball will be back on the floor. Some days, his knee responds well to the treatment plan. Others, not so much. The Bulls will continue to monitor Ball's status and update the public when there is any news on his return. For now, we have to wait and see.
Who will replace Ball?
One glaring question that will soon be answered is who will take Ball's spot in the starting lineup come October 19 when the Bulls open their season against East rival Miami? Fortunately for the Bulls, they have numerous players who can temporarily take the mantle. There's sophomore Ayo Dosunmo who started 40 games for the team last year and held his own. There's also Alex Caruso and Coby White - two players with the experience and skill set to run an offense.
The most likely candidate, however, is veteran guard Goran Dragić. The 36-year-old Slovenian certainly looked revitalized in the Eurobasket 2022 qualifiers this past September. He averaged 14.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in seven games. Not to mention, Dragić has a wealth of experience that would be beneficial for a young Bulls team.