Lonzo Ball On His "Best Chance" To Return To Court

Lonzo Ball has now officially undergone his third knee surgery in just over a year in a seemingly last-ditch attempt to return to the NBA. He would be the first player ever to return after a cartilage transplant surgery, if he's able to do so. 

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said the surgery went well. 

I do know that Lonzo, just based on the information he was able to gather from different sets of doctors, [was] making the decision that he felt like this was the best chance to be able to get him back on the court. We all understand that that is going to be an uphill battle for him, but I know he's going to do everything possible in his rehab to get himself back on the court.

The Bulls' point guard last played on Jan. 14, 2022. Surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee soon followed. But persistent pain in the knee during his rehab caused him to miss the rest of the season. 

Pain in the knee continued during the offseason despite continued efforts to rehab, leaving him unable to perform daily activities like walking up stairs. The decision was made to undergo another surgery in September, with Ball hoping to return later this season. But that, too, failed to fix the problem, leading to this third surgery on Monday.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Ball will likely be out for the entire 2023-24 season recovering from the latest procedure, though the Bulls were non-committal. 

"He's certainly got a long road to recovery, a long road to get himself at a place where he can get back on the court and playing again," Donovan said, "but I am hopeful with his work ethic and his commitment and drive and just how eager he is to play, that he's gonna exhaust every opportunity to do that."

A sad story continues for the 25-year-old, who signed a 4-year, $85M contract with the Bulls before the 2021-22 season.

Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports