Billy Donovan is optimistic Lonzo Ball can get back as the guard hits the two-year anniversary of his last NBA game

Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball last played on January 14, 2021. The opponent was the Golden State Warriors, and the two-way guard had a solid game with 15 points, two rebounds, and three assists. However, all those fade into the background for what that game is most remembered for – the knee injury that would sideline Ball for two years and counting.

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan is hopeful that Ball can triumphantly return to the court as he moves past the two-year mark from his last NBA game. In an interview with NBC Sports Chicago, Donovan expressed optimism about Ball’s progress and potential comeback.

Optimistic for a successful return

It has been a long road for the former UCLA star, who has undergone three knee surgeries to try and get his stalled NBA career back on track. The latest one was arguably the boldest one—a cartilage transplant procedure that was needed after not being able to run or jump without pain after his second surgery.

After missing the 2022-2023 season, Ball will also miss this one, but for Donovan, hope floats.

“The optimistic part wants to believe he’s going to get back because you see his attitude every day,” Donovan said“You want it for him.”

Undeniable impact

With Ball at the point of attack on both ends, the Bulls was a rampaging group that contended for the best record in the Eastern Conference at 27-13. But since Ball’s injury, the Bulls have toed the line of mediocrity, compiling a woeful 78-88 record and missing the NBA Playoffs last season.

Donovan reported that Ball is slated to start running this month, which marks the next step in his recovery process.

“The biggest thing we’ve tried to do is make sure he’s in the right hands to go through the rehab and recover and try to get as close to fully healthy as he possibly can,” Donovan said.

“At some point when he’s cleared to play and this continues to move in the right direction, he’s going to need some time. I am hopeful and optimistic that he’ll be back with us.”

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