Lonzo Ball will probably miss all of next season.
The Chicago Bulls guard is set to undergo a third surgery on his left knee, which has already kept him out for more than a year. He is expected to miss most, if not all, of the 2023-24 season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Bulls confirmed that Ball would have a cartilage transplant in his knee, but did not give a timeline for his return.
“My main focus has been getting back on the court and getting to a place where I can reconnect with my teammates,” Ball said in a statement. “It has been a frustrating process, but I am confident that these next steps are the best way forward. The support of my family, friends, fans and medical staff is what keeps me going during my recovery. Can’t wait to do what I love most – playing basketball.
While it’s an incredibly long time away from the game — he’ll take three full years between games — Ball and the Bulls are reportedly optimistic that the third surgery will be what it will ultimately take to heal his knee.
Ball had already been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a meniscus injury. He has not played since January 14, 2022 and has already undergone a couple of surgeries. He reportedly couldn’t run or jump after his most recent one in September, and his rehab hasn’t gone as well as expected.
Ball has been considering a third surgery in recent weeks. The team initially hoped that the surgery would only keep Ball out for six months, which could get him back on the court in time for the start of the following season. Based on Charania’s timeline, he may not take the court again until the start of the 2024-25 season.
If this happens, the ball would have been missed for about 33 months.
Ball averaged 13 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 35 games with the Bulls before he tore his meniscus. The Bullocks were sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference when it went down. They finished in sixth place and were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
“I continue to admire Lonzo’s tenacity throughout this journey,” Bulls President Arturas Carnisvas said in a statement. The organization is with him and he has our full support. Our training and medical staff continue their commitment to Lonzo’s rehabilitation and working with him on the next steps to ensure his healthy return to basketball.”