Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball shared bad news and good news on Monday, starting with a confirmation that he will miss his second straight full season due to an ongoing knee injury.
The better news is that Ball, who had a cartilage transplant on the knee in March, said he finally knows the extent of the injury and can anticipate returning the following season.
"At least now, I got the surgery. We got a plan moving forward. We've been on plan. I'm on track," Ball said during an interview with Trae Young on the "From the Point by Trae Young" podcast. "Hopefully, everything works out. I just leave it up to God and do the best I can and live with the results."
The Bulls have known about Ball's repeated lost season. Team vice president Arturas Karnisovas indicated as much on draft night in June.
The injury proved especially frustrating because Ball was fresh off signing a four-year, $80 million deal with the Bulls in 2021, but played only 35 games that season. When he went down, Chicago led the East at 27-13.
Without him, the Bulls lost in the first round of the playoffs that season, and then lost in the Eastern Conference play-in tourney last season.
"I feel bad, just for the [Bulls'] GMs because I feel like they made the perfect team around me. I felt like that was the most I've ever been involved in an organization. And I finally got the perfect team that I felt like could fit my game and play my way and really just do what I wanted to do," Ball said.
Uncertainty about his injury made matters worse, he said.
"When I first got hurt, we didn't really know what it was. I was seeing all type of different doctors and stuff. I was just kind of going up and down. That was really hard for me because I just didn't know what the next day was going to be like," Ball said.
Ball, whom the Lakers took second overall in 2017, played two seasons for Los Angeles and two with the New Orleans Pelicans before signing with Chicago.
He has averaged 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists in just under 33 minutes per game. He has been a starter in 239 of his 252 career games.
—Field Level Media