Lonzo Ball of the Bulls has undergone the 3rd surgery for the “best chance” to return.
Tim BontempsESPN4 minute reading
PHILADELPHIA — Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball underwent cartilage transplant surgery in his left knee early Monday, which coach Billy Donovan said gives Ball his best chance to someday resume his NBA career.
“I know he will work very hard [on his rehab]” Donovan said before Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.[The doctors] he felt the surgery went well.
“I know that Lonzo, based on the information he was able to gather from the various medical teams, [was] Because he felt that making the decision was the best option to be able to get back on the court. We all understand that it will be an uphill battle for him, but I know he will do everything possible in his rehabilitation to get back on the court.”
It was a similar message to the one Ball himself sent out last week when the Bulls announced he would undergo a third surgery in more than a year.
“My main focus has been getting back on the court and getting to a place where I can rejoin my teammates,” Ball said. “This has been a frustrating process, but I’m confident these next steps are the best way forward. The support of my family, friends, fans and medical staff is what keeps me going throughout my recovery. I can’t wait to get back to what I love most: playing basketball “.
Ball has not played a game since January 14, 2022. He initially underwent surgery shortly after to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and Chicago said he would be back in 6 to 8 weeks. After missing the rest of the season and continuing to experience pain and discomfort in his knee over the summer, Ball underwent a second surgery in September.
“There was a point where we would warm up and do things, and I would go through certain days and it would be fine,” Ball told reporters. “Then, every time I got to actual basketball activities, I just couldn’t do it. Unfortunately, that’s what’s at hand and what we have to deal with. We feel like surgery, again, is the best option.”
But without continuing to progress enough to facilitate a return for this season, Ball was ruled out for the rest of the season last month.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that Ball’s latest surgery could cost him most — if not all — of the 2023-24 season. What Donovan would say is that he was told Ball is out “indefinitely,” and that he had no timeline for his return beyond that.
“He’s definitely got a long road to recovery, a long road to get back on the court and get to a place where he can play again,” Donovan said, “but I’m hopeful with his work ethic and his commitment and his drive, how eager he is to play, that he’s going to exhaust every opportunity to do that.” .
Ball, 25, was a perfect fit for the first half of last season alongside star wings Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan in Chicago, combining his size and length at the point while being the league’s best passer and a solid defender. Improved 3-point shooter.
Chicago went 27-13 last season before Ball left the lineup in mid-January, then went 19-23 in that stretch before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bulls entered Monday’s game against the 76ers streaking, a league-leading eight-game winning streak. At 33-37, the Bulls are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings — the last spot to play for — and are 1.5 games ahead of the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers, who entered the night tied for 11th.