Bulls guard Lonzo Ball will have a second knee surgery next week
The left knee injury that sidelined Ball in January will now put him on the shelf for the start of the 2022-23 season, with a re-evaluation coming in four to six weeks.
The Lonzo Ball injured-knee saga took yet another turn Wednesday, as the Bulls announced that the point guard would have surgery next week in Los Angeles and be re-evaluated in four to six weeks.
This was the same left knee that Ball injured last January, and after it was initially called a bone bruise, the hope was he would be back in weeks.
Weeks turned to months after further testing showed he needed a meniscus tear repaired, but the organization still held out hope that he could be back for the last week of the season and into the playoffs.
That hope quickly faded when he had to continually be backed up in the rehab process, dealing with pain when he reached the sprinting and lateral movement parts of the program.
The plan this summer was rest and then get Ball ramped up again, but it was almost a rinse and repeat of what happened in the winter and spring.
He would reach a certain portion of the program and experience pain.
According to a source, Ball and his camp — with consent from the team — went and got second and third opinions on what was going on, and the latest doctor he saw felt that an arthroscopic debridement would be the best path. A debridement is basically a cleanup to remove some debris.
With the schedule they have given Ball to be re-evaluated, that would mean the Bulls would have a better timetable for his return in November. However, that doesn’t mean Ball would be close to returning then. As the Bulls have learned with the 24-year-old, timetables have been very relative through his first five seasons in the NBA.
Ball, who was acquired in a sign-and-trade last summer with New Orleans, has never played a full NBA season since being drafted No. 2 overall by the Lakers in 2017. Before going down with the latest knee injury, he was playing at a high level in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 13 points while shooting a career-high 42.3% from three-point range.
While a clear plan has not been laid out as far as a replacement in the starting lineup, the Bulls did sign veteran Goran Dragic in July.