NBA: Bulls' Lonzo Ball says he had meniscus transplant

NBA: Bulls’ Lonzo Ball says he had meniscus transplant

/ 05:44 PM May 25, 2024

Lonzo Ball Bulls NBA

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball sits on the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Saturday, March 9, 2024. Coach Billy Donovan said Ball has started sprinting and cutting during on-court drills in controlled, noncontact situations. Ball has not played since January 2022 because of three procedures on his left knee. (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball says he got a new meniscus when he underwent a cartilage transplant in his left knee last year and expects to be ready for the NBA season opener.

Ball, who hasn’t played since January 2022, said he also underwent a bone allograft, where the replacement bone comes from another person. He said during an episode of his “The WAE Show” podcast that dropped Friday that the issues dated to when he tore his meniscus in 2018 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

“To make a long story short, ultimately, it started with the meniscus tear,” Ball said. “Basically, it started on the Lakers when I tore it the first time. Tore it a couple more times to a point to where there was no more meniscus left, with bone-on-bone rubbing. So the cartilage was gone. The bone was messed up.”


READ: NBA: Bulls expect Lonzo Ball to miss another season due to left knee injury

The Bulls acquired Ball from New Orleans in a sign-and-trade deal prior to the 2021-22 season. He got off to a good start in Chicago, averaging 13 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 42.3% on 3-pointers over 35 games before being derailed.

He had a cartilage transplant in March 2023, his third operation on the knee in a little more than a year.

Ball said it took about 14 or 15 months to figure out the issue in his knee. He had several starts and stops after he was initially sidelined, and he experienced pain jumping and walking up stairs.

But Ball insisted he plans to be ready for the opener.

“I firmly believe that,” he said. “That’s the plan that I’m on and I haven’t had any setbacks. I expect to play the first game.”

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