Bulls, Celtics hear bad news before 2022-23 NBA regular season begins

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Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls sits on the bench during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at United Center in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., April 5, 2022. /CFP

Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls sits on the bench during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at United Center in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., April 5, 2022. /CFP

Starting point guard of the Chicago Bulls Lonzo Ball may miss the team’s training camp and the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA regular season because of the meniscus surgery on his left knee, according to ESPN.

Ball suffered the injury in January and underwent surgery later in that month before missing the rest of the 2021-22 season. ESPN revealed that he still felt lingering pain and discomfort when he tried to participate in basketball activities.

Having spent the summer rehabbing in Los Angeles, Ball will go to Chicago next week for the Bulls to re-evaluate his condition. The team first said he would be back in six to eight weeks after Ball suffered the injury, which didn’t happen. During the summer, the didn’t give any clear timeline for his recovery.

Lonzo Ball (#2) of the Chicago Bulls tries to deflect the shooting of KZ Okpala of the Miami Heat in the game at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, U.S., December 11, 2021. /CFP

Lonzo Ball (#2) of the Chicago Bulls tries to deflect the shooting of KZ Okpala of the Miami Heat in the game at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, U.S., December 11, 2021. /CFP

“He’s getting better, probably not at the speed that we would like, but he’s getting better,” Bulls Vice President Arturas Karnisovas said in July.

Ball played a career-low 35 games for the Bulls last season before undergoing meniscus surgery and averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals. He could drain 3.1 triples at 42.3 percent at 3-point rate per game and was able to switch among three positions on defense. Ball’s incredible performance was partly why the Bulls achieved a 27-13 record and remained top four in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Celtics had worse news than the Bulls. Danilo Gallinari, who was expected to play a key role as a bench scorer after joining the Celtics in July, was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee, according to the team. The 34-year-old veteran is likely to miss the 2022-23 season.

“This has been a tough week for me as I have learned the extent of my injury,” Gallinari posted on social media. “This game means everything to me and not being able to be on the court with my Celtics teammates hurts. I plan to give everything I can to the Celtics organization and my teammates as we hunt for a title.”

Danilo Gallinari (#8) of Italy penetrates in the FIBA Basketball World Cup European qualifier game against Georgia in Brescia, Italy, August 27, 2022. /CFP

Danilo Gallinari (#8) of Italy penetrates in the FIBA Basketball World Cup European qualifier game against Georgia in Brescia, Italy, August 27, 2022. /CFP

Gallinari suffered the same injury in the 2012-13 season and it cost him the whole 2013-14 campaign. This time it happened in the FIBA Basketball World Cup European qualifier game between Italy and Georgia last week. Usually it takes six months to a year for a player to recover from a torn ACL.

When the Celtics signed the two-year, $13.2 million contract with Gallinari during the offseason, they hoped he could remedy their lack of bench depth with his scoring ability. Though he will try to get back at some point during the 2022-23 season, according to ESPN, the Celtics will have to be prepared for his absence for at least half of the regular season.

ESPN’s expert Booby Marks said the Celtics can apply for a designated player exception to replace Gallinari. The team will get $3.2 million of salary space to sign, trade or claim a player on an expiring contract.



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