REPORT: Lonzo Ball’s Third Surgery is Coming and It Could Cost Him ALL of Next Season (UPDATE: Bulls Confirm)
According to both The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lonzo Ball will undergo a third knee surgery that could sideline him for the entirety of the 2023-24 season.
This will mark Ball’s third procedure on his left knee in 14 months.
The news comes just one week after reports surfaced that Ball was considering another surgery.
He was originally shut down for the remainder of this season in late February as he continued to experience discomfort when trying to go through his rehab. The Bulls’ official statement at the time said that “the focus for Ball will continue to be on the resolution of his discomfort and a full return for the 2023-24 season.”
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson went on to also confirm the latest news. However, he didn’t go as far as to put any sort of timetable on the rehab process.
All things considered, neither fans nor the Bulls should go into next season expecting Ball to play. The fact of the matter is he hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since January of 2022. The fact his body has also struggled to regain full strength after two previous surgeries is a major concern. While it’s nice to be optimistic about a third surgery finally solving the problem, we’re now talking about a lot of wear and tear on the body in a short amount of time. At this point, this is far more about Ball’s general well-being at 25 years old than his ability to retake the court.
The point guard has played just 35 career games for the Bulls franchise. He is under contract for two more seasons at $20.4 million in 2023-24 and $21.4 million in 2024-25 (player option). If Ball’s injury is eventually considered career-ending, there is a world where the Bulls can potentially earn some money back. Also, if the Bulls do expect Ball to miss all of next season, it’s possible they can apply for a Disabled Player Exception to add a little more financial flexibility.
That’s all a conversation for a different date, though. I’m wishing Ball the best and crossing my fingers that this third surgery can be the answer he has been desperately looking for.
UPDATE (5:11 p.m. CT)
The Chicago Bulls have officially confirmed that Lonzo Ball will undergo a third surgery to address the issues in his left knee. More specifically, they said the procedure will be a “cartilage transplant.”
The team said that Ball will remain out indefinitely and updates will be provided on his status when appropriate.
You can read their statement with quotes from both Ball and Arturas Karnisovas here.