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Chicago Bulls Organization Experiences Performance-Limiting Brain Condition While Participating In Lonzo Ball Injury Updates

Lonzo Ball watches a Bulls game from courtside, in a hoodie and ball cap.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Lonzo Ball's knee is messed up and it hurts.

As you may recall, the Chicago Bulls guard left a game against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 14, 2022 because his left knee hurt, due to what doctors later diagnosed as a bruise and a meniscus tear. He had arthroscopic surgery later that month, but recurring pain kept him out for the rest of the season. Over the summer he revealed to reporters that the knee was still all jacked up, painful, and weak, and that he couldn't run or jump. He had another surgery on the knee in September, but still couldn't run or jump by the end of November.

Three weeks ago, and more than a year after that Warriors game, Bulls coach Billy Donovan described Ball as "nowhere near playing." Today, the Bulls announced that Ball will not return to playing this season, because his knee is still messed up and it hurts when he does stuff.

Or, well, I think that's the reason. Here is how the Chicago Bulls organization chose to share this update with the world:

On behalf of Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President – Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas:

“Despite making significant increases in strength and function over the past several months, Bulls guard Lonzo Ball continues to experience performance limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities. Considering the required time period to achieve the necessary level of fitness to return-to-play and the current stage of the NBA season, Ball will not return this season. The focus for Ball will continue to be on the resolution of his discomfort and a full return for the 2023-24 season.”

Continues to experience performance-limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities. If you told the stupid Bing artificial intelligence chatbot to render an injury update as opaque and uninformative as possible without translating it into another language, it could hardly surpass this. Performance-limiting discomfort could be anything. Does Lonzo have a headache? Is he haunted by knowledge of his own mortality, and too existentially terrified to concentrate on free-throw shooting? Is he suffering from chronic bubbleguts, and has to waddle around with his buttcheeks clenched together to avoid ruining the floor?

High level basketball-related activities only raises more questions. Do the basketball-related activities have to be high level for him to experience the performance-limiting discomfort? What about dunking on 9-year-olds who suck? What about if he only shoots airballs and slap-dribbles the ball like a total scrub; does that alleviate his symptoms? Would the discomfort with high-level basketball evaporate if the Bulls traded him to the Wizards? What if the activities are high-level, but not basketball-related? Maybe he could switch over to playing for the Blackhawks, for some relief. Considering the required time period to achieve the necessary level of fitness, playing hockey for a few months might at least help stave off boredom.

I am not even going to touch the baffling hyphens in "return-to-play," except to say that no punctuation marks have ever made me feel worse in my whole life.

Why are the Chicago Bulls phrasing their injury report updates like cops describing a shooting for which they don't want to be blamed? At this time a knee-involved performance-limiting discomfort occurred. Subsequent to such, the adult male was ruled out for the remainder of the season. The possibility that there might be an audience out there that affirmatively wants its news in this format is bone-chilling to consider. The circulation of personal transport devices continues to experience velocity-impacting roadway and high level atmosphere factors at various points within the broadcast-receiving area of this radio environment. This is deranged.

My sense is that the goal in butchering a news blurb like this is to make it sound more Official or Technical—that it's an idiot's idea of what an expert talks like. It's downstream of the theatrically obfuscatory idiom elected officials and national-security types all adopted post-9/11, as a way of enlisting rubes into their own befuddlement: For security reasons, it is necessary that I speak to you in impenetrable baroque euphemism, and that you nod patriotically and then go Thank you for telling me nothing. This type of shit suits professional sports organizations just fine, it turns out, both as window-dressing for their quasi-state pose and as a sop to nitwits who think anything expressed in grim-sounding gibberish must be very serious and important.

If you didn't live through or don't remember the early- and mid-aughts, you might think the task of a media organization, when faced with this gobbledygook, would be to parse it into plain language, so that the general public could more easily understand what the fuck it is being told. Here is how ESPN chose to share the statement on its Twitter account:

They didn't even rephrase it! Lonzo continues to experience performance-limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities. Stamping "Breaking:" on the front of that is genuinely hilarious. This just in: Something is happening somewhere, involving somebody. Must be important! Otherwise they would have just said, His knee hurts, so he can't play basketball right now.

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