Lonzo Ball reports slow progress with left knee rehab

From the Bulls' perspective, point guard Lonzo Ball can't get back on the floor soon enough.

But at a community event on the North Side, Ball admitted Wednesday that progress remains slow as he tries to return from two arthroscopic surgeries on his left knee in the past year.

"Still rehabbing," Ball said. "It's been a crazy journey, crazy therapy. Everything is just trying to get back on the court. Unfortunately I'm not there yet, but we're still working every day.

"I'm trying to remain positive and just keep getting better, even if it's an inch better every day. Just try not to move backward."

Ball hasn't played in a game since Jan. 14. He had the first surgery in late January, then when he continued to feel pain in the knee, had a second surgery at the end of September.

The Bulls have missed his leadership on the floor, defense and 3-point shooting. Their playoff chances may slip away before Ball is able to return, but he said the knee feels better during day-to-day activities.

"Last couple of weeks I'm finally seeing some improvement, which is nice to see," he said. "It's still not obviously where I want to be, but it's definitely a positive light at the end of the tunnel.

"The pain is there. Pretty sure it's going to be there. Just figuring out how we can get through it to a point to where I can produce on the court."

Ball was asked what it's been like watching the Bulls struggle from the sidelines.

"I'm not going to lie, it's hard for me, very hard for me," he said. "I think we have a great team and I know the things I can do to help the team out. But unfortunately, I'm not on the court right now and I feel like we're all feeling it.

"From my point of view, I would love to be out there with them in the battle every night. The personalities that we have on the team, the staff and my close friends and family, everybody - I've got with me on my side. As far as the mental thing, I'm fine. I just want to get out there and play."

Ball said he's been doing some standstill shooting and a lot of mobility work.

"I finally got to touch the ball," he said. "I feel like I haven't played in so long. The shot's not going nowhere, so now it's about getting the legs right.

"I can't give you a specific timeline when I'll be back. I'm still a ways out, unfortunately. But I am touching the ball now finally, I'm on the court doing some things."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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