The Chicago Bulls and fans a like have been eager for the return of point guard Lonzo Ball.
The Bulls were playing stellar basketball to start last season before an injury has sidelined him, and he has yet to return.
But his rehab is progressing slowly. But a video Ball posted to his Instagram of him dunking at the team's practice facility and fans are excited.
"This seems like a really significant improvement after stating he was experiencing pain just from walking/going up stairs," one fan wrote on Twitter.
"THE LEAGUE IS FINISHED," wrote another.
Ball recently detailed tangible steps made in his recovery from September's latest left knee surgery before Christmas. And right before the New Year, head coach Billy Donovan provided an update in a pregame media session with reporters.
And in it, he noted that Ball was jumping.
"(He is) regularly on the court shooting, which has been good," Donovan said of Ball. "Actually jumping a little bit while shooting. He's been doing some light jogging and I think working through some of that stuff.
"(Since) we last talked, it is progressing, it's just really slow. But there has definitely been some improvements and he's actually doing more physically than the last time we spoke."
So while we knew from Donovan that Ball was jumping, it's nice to see it as well.
Donovan's last update did not advance the timeline significantly, and Ball said he is still experiencing pain in his surgically repaired knee on Dec. 21. And as refreshing as it to actually see him jumping and jogging (in another video he posted), he still has yet to clear the biggest hurdles: Sprinting, cutting and facing contact without pain.
That is where Ball's rehab stalled in the spring, stretching an initial six-to-eight week recovery timeline from surgery to address a meniscus tear in late January into the offseason. After a summer of unsuccessful rehab, which culminated in a sobering media session in which he told reporters he felt inexplicable pain in his knee even while walking up stairs, another operation followed just before the start of training camp.
And tomorrow, Jan. 14, 2023, it will mark the one-year anniversary of the last game Ball played.
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