Arturas Karnisovas doesn't know when Lonzo Ball will return, explains why they opted for knee surgery now as Bulls camp opens


CHICAGO (670 The Score) – Like everyone else, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas doesn’t have much of a read on when starting point guard Lonzo Ball could return after he undergoes left knee surgery this Wednesday.

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Karnisovas isn’t even certain of everything the arthroscopic debridement procedure on Ball’s knee in Los Angles will entail or find.

“I’m not a doctor, so I’m just going to wait and see what the doctors will tell me,” Karnisovas said.

This will mark Ball’s second left knee surgery in eight months after he was sidelined by persistent pain in January, after which he didn’t return to game action. The Bulls had initially expected Ball to be back by the end of the regular season after he underwent an operation to repair his meniscus, but that plan was derailed.

Since then, Ball’s health has been the biggest dark cloud hanging over the organization. The Bulls were merely a shell of their previous fast-paced, defensive havoc-wreaking selves after Ball was hurt last season, and they know they need him back if they're to reach their ceiling this season.

As the Bulls gathered for media day Monday at the United Center, Karnisovas did explain why the 24-year-old Ball is having knee surgery as training camp is opening rather than much earlier in the summer.

“We gave every opportunity to rehab and get back on the court without doing the surgery,” Karnisovas said. “That was our thought process. We did it with the thought in mind of what’s best for the player. We’re at a crossroads now where we need to do something else, and that’s why we opted to do the procedure. We worked very closely with Lonzo and his representation and looked at every option possible and got to this conclusion. In terms of timeline, we don’t what it’s going to be. As we reported, in four to six weeks, we’re going to re-evaluate him and see where he’s at.”

The Bulls will re-evaluate Ball in late October or early November, after which they’ll proceed forward with the next step in his recovery. Despite the bleak updates on Ball lately, Karnisovas tried to remain optimistic.

“I’m always a positive guy, so my confidence level is we’ll see him on the floor,” Karnisovas said. “When? It’s just going to depend how he feels during recovery.”

Ball played in 35 games last season, averaging 13 points and 5.1 assists while also shooting 42.3% from 3-point range on high volume.

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.

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