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NBA - US Sports: Ball unlikely to return for Bulls

It is looking increasingly unlikely that Chicago will be able to call on Lonzo Ball again this season, but the Bulls haven't officially ruled him out for the rest of the campaign just yet.

Chicago are 50/1 to win the NBA Championship outright and 22/1 to win the Eastern Conference.

Defeat doesn't block playoff path

The Bulls secured a top six seed in the East on Tuesday despite losing 127-106 at home to Milwaukee Bucks as Cleveland Cavaliers suffered a 120-115 loss at Orlando Magic.

Ball has been missing since mid-January, sitting out the last 39 games, following meniscus surgery.  The guard was expected to return by the end of March at the latest but coach Billy Donovan has previously revealed his knee is still troubling him and he has not responded to rehab.

The Bulls have just three regular season games remaining before the playoffs begin later this month.  Reports suggest Ball won't be involved again this term and Donovan admits a return is unlikely, but he stopped short of shutting down the 24-year-old point guard.

"We haven't even got to that point," said Donovan, via the Chicago Tribune, on the possibility of Ball being ruled out for the rest of the season.

He added: "It's obviously disappointing. We were hoping that the time he had off could help him propel moving forward to do a little more. That certainly hasn't been the case."

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LaVine may return

The Bulls were also without fellow guard Zach LaVine on Tuesday as he continues to manage a knee issue of his own. 

Now the Bulls have secured an automatic playoff place, LaVine may not feature again until the postseason begins on 16th April.

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