Bulls' Lonzo Ball contemplating 3rd surgery on left knee
Lonzo Ball contemplating 3rd surgery on left knee originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Lonzo Ball and his representatives and doctors are working with the Chicago Bulls and progressing towards a decision on whether or not a third surgery on his troublesome left knee is needed, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago. A resolution is possible in the next week.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported news of the latest development, which would mark Ball's third surgical procedure since January 2022 and fourth of his career. The reason the decision could be made in the next week, a source said, is because it would allow for six months of recovery and rehabilitation and possibly have him ready for close to the start of the 2023-24 season.
However, nothing has gone to plan regarding Ball, 25, who is finishing the second year of a four-year, $80 million deal with the Chicago Bulls and is still experiencing pain whenever he tries to increase his workload.
Surgery could be a logical next step for a player whom the Bulls have said publicly multiple times can't cut, jump or run fully without discomfort despite surgery to repair a torn meniscus in January 2022 and a debridement procedure in September 2022. Coach Billy Donovan recently said that doctors haven't been able to fully ascertain what still plagues Ball.
Ball said on the Bulls' January trip to Paris that he's trying to learn how to run with a different gait after posting a video to his social media account of his work on a treadmill.
“Obviously, there’s still some discomfort and some hitching in there. But it’s the process of getting everything started," Ball said then. "That was my first time running in pretty much a year. So just for me it was positive just to get on a treadmill and do something. It’s not my normal gait. Obviously, I’ve got to work through that. There’s going to be pain there because of the surgeries."
Asked on that Paris trip if he's concerned his situation is career-ending, Ball said no. Sources previously told NBC Sports Chicago that the Bulls have insurance on Ball's contract but the only pathway to salary-cap relief would be for Ball's injury to be ruled career-ending and the situation is a long way from that scenario as of now. The focus is on trying to get Ball healthy.
Ball has been in Los Angeles visiting specialists since the All-Star break trying to fully assess the best route forward, particularly since nerve damage became a concern following the September 2022 debridement procedure.
Ball's impact on the court for the Bulls is undeniable. In 35 games, his defensive prowess, long-range shooting and ability to push pace and set up others helped lead the team to the Eastern Conference lead. Unfortunately, those are fading memories since Ball last played in an NBA game on Jan. 14, 2022.
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