Lonzo Ball will undergo his second straight missed season this upcoming year as a result of a third knee surgery he underwent since January 2022.
For that, Billy Donovan showed sympathy for his point guard.
"My heart goes out to Lonzo," Donovan told ESPN's Steve Russell. "He is a great guy. He's a great player. It's been amazing just seeing him go through what he's had to go through over the last several years and the way he's handled himself and how hard he's worked to get back."
Ball has undergone three surgeries on his left knee since January 2022. The first was to help repair a torn meniscus he suffered 35 games into the season. The second was an arthroscopic debridement aiming to clear out debris. The most recent, performed in March, was a cartilage transplant.
Past athletes have undergone the same surgery, but rarely do they return to the floor.
Recently, Stephen A. Smith reported Ball's injury is so severe, he's having trouble standing up from a seated position. Ball debunked his report with a Twitter video of him doing single-leg squats from a chair.
Obviously, he's not healthy or strong enough to return to the NBA floor. Not even close. But it's comforting to know he can accomplish easy tasks with his injured knee.
The point guard hopes to return to the floor some day and proclaimed he will in the video. Donovan said he's working diligently to make an eventual return to the floor.
"I was with him last week, spent a little time with him," Donovan said. "He's doing the very best he can. But I feel bad for him."