REPORT: Lonzo Ball Might Now Need a *THIRD* Knee Surgery

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REPORT: Lonzo Ball Might Now Need a *THIRD* Knee Surgery

Chicago Bulls

Lonzo Ball is on the brink of yet another procedure.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there is a “growing possibility” that the Chicago Bulls guard will have to undergo a third surgery on his right knee. The operation would cause him to miss *at least* another six months due to the rehabilitation process.

Ball has already had two surgeries since he was sidelined last January with a knee issue. The first was supposed to come with a return timeline of just six-to-eight weeks. Instead, Ball never played again during the 2021-22 season and failed to ramp up in time for the start of this regular season. The lingering pain caused Chicago to announce a second procedure at the end of September.

Initial reports suggested that the team was confident Ball could return during the 2022-23 campaign, with the second half of the season mentioned as a loose target date. Things only continued to spiral as discomfort loomed, and the Bulls went on to officially rule out Ball for the entirety of the season on Feb. 21 (although, it was clear well before that Ball would not be able to return).

In the organization’s press release on Ball’s shutdown, Arturas Karnisovas released a statement that said, “the focus for Ball will continue to be on the resolution of his discomfort and a full return for the 2023-24 season.” With this latest news, however, the idea of a full return for at least the start of the 2023-24 regular season seems nearly impossible.

Even if Ball were to have the surgery over the next few days and stay in line with the six-month timeframe, that would put him back on the court in September. And I have a really hard time believing he will not also need multiple weeks after that to get caught back up to game speed. After missing nearly two whole seasons of NBA basketball, there is no chance the Bulls would rush him back on the floor.

The bigger concern right now, however, is whether or not Ball will EVER be able to return. While it’s never something we want to bring up, his career is undoubtedly in serious jeopardy. Rumors have swirled that doctors still don’t fully understand why Ball has failed to reclaim full strength in his knee. I guess it’s semi-encouraging that they believe this latest surgery could help, but it’s hard not to also view it as some kind of last-ditch effort to save his career.

As the Bulls look to reshape this roster in the offseason, they’re going to have to operate under the assumption that Ball is not a part of the future plans. They went into this year seemingly banking on his return to play, and we see where that has gotten them.

Ball is under contract for two more seasons in Chicago. He’s set to make roughly $20.4 million next season and has a $21.3 million player option the year after that.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.