Lonzo Ball has knee pain when ramping up workouts, likely shut down for year

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Lonzo Ball is likely going to miss the playoffs.

Ball — who was a key defensive player and glue guy for Chicago this season before tearing the meniscus in his left knee, which led to surgery in January — had more pain while ramping up his workouts in an effort to return to play for the postseason, coach Billy Donovan told reporters Tuesday.

This led to reports and expectations that the Bulls will shut Ball down for the season.

It’s hard to imagine the Bulls bringing Ball back in the middle of the playoffs, throwing him cold into an intense, high-leverage situation. The logical next step is to shut him down until next season, but that’s a conversation with a lot of people in the room.

Ball averaged 13 points and 5.1 assists a game for the Bulls this season while shooting 42.3% from 3. More importantly, he was part of a better-than-expected defense in Chicago to start the season, something that came apart when Ball and Alex Caruso were injured at almost the same time.

Chicago will head into the playoffs as the No. 5 or 6 seed in the East (they are tied with Toronto heading into Tuesday’s games), which will mean a tough first-round series starting on the road.