Lonzo Ball

Bulls' Lonzo Ball says he's ‘on track', confirms he'll miss 2023-24 season

Guard underwent a cartilage transplant in March, his third left knee surgery since January 2022

Lonzo Ball hasn't played since January 14, 2022.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball confirmed he will miss his second straight season but talked optimistically about returning to the court in an appearance on the "From the Point by Trae Young" podcast.

Ball, who hasn't played in an NBA game since January 14, 2022, underwent a cartilage transplant in March, his third left knee surgery since signing a four-year, $80 million deal with the Bulls.

"Just taking it day by day, bro. I just had a really big surgery---hopefully, the last one I ever have to get. It’s a long process. I’m already out this whole next season," Ball said on the podcast. "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. At least now, I got the surgery. We got a plan moving forward. We’ve been on plan. I’m on track. Hopefully, everything works out. I just leave it up to God and do the best I can and live with the results."

The Bulls led the Eastern Conference for much of Ball's first half season in Chicago. But they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in a 2022 first-round playoff matchup and then failed to exit the play-in tournament last season.

"It’s going to be a big what if. For me, I feel bad just for the GM because I feel like they made the perfect team around me. And I felt like that was the most I’ve ever been involved in an organization. And I finally got the perfect team to fit my game and play my way and really just do what I wanted to do," Ball said on the podcast. "That injury---I’m still going through it right now---that one messed me up early just because I felt like we really had a chance and never got to see what it was."

Young asked Ball if he'll have a greater appreciation for basketball when he does return.

"Nah, man. I think I play hoop the same way my whole life, bro. I always just love playing basketball. So it’s basically just something that got taken away from me," Ball said. "It’s going to be a whole new joy again. I’m gonna be hella happy to be back out there. I ain’t never took the game for granted. For me, it’s just like getting your love back for sure.

"I wish I never got injured to be honest. I wouldn’t want to come back. But that’s just what’s in front of me. And I just gotta tackle it head on. And whenever that time comes, I’m going to be blessed to be back out there doing what I love. The mindset is going to stay the same, go out there and play for my team and be the best person I can be."

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