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NBA - US Sports: Ball no closer to Bulls return

Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan says Lonzo Ball is still struggling with a knee issue despite having surgery nearly two months ago.

Chicago are 22/1 to win the NBA Championship outright.

Ball underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a small meniscus tear in his left knee seven weeks ago. The guard was expected to be back within six to eight weeks, but Donovan says Ball is still some distance away from making a return to action.

'Same thing'

"He has not responded [to rehab]," said Donovan, via NBC Sports. "There's no setbacks. It's still the same thing.

"He has not been able to do anything full speed. And anytime we get him close to that, there's discomfort. So I think they're going to probably at least look at, you know, 'Do you back off and let him rest for a little bit and see if that helps?'"

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The Bulls slipped to a 129-102 loss at Phoenix Suns on Friday and appear in danger of dropping out of the top six in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago were battling for the top seed not too long ago but a run of just two wins in their last 10 games has seen them drop down to fifth, and they are just two games ahead of Toronto Raptors in seventh spot.

The postseason starts next month and it remains to be seen if Ball will be able to make a return in the final 12 regular season games.

Ongoing concerns

Donovan is unsure when he will be able to call on his starting point guard again but he stopped short of saying Ball could be out for the rest of the season.

He added: "I haven't had that where they said that. I think everybody was optimistic that he could get back and play.

"But there's no question with the current situation with him not being able to do things physically that he needs to do on the court - he's not even at that place - if it keeps going on and on, that would not be great."

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