After an initial period of rest and targeted treatment, Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss six to eight weeks, the Chicago Bulls announced Thursday.
Ball has missed the team's last three games with what was initially termed knee soreness. But following further medical consultation, he was diagnosed with a small meniscus tear in the knee, leading the Bulls and Ball to weigh two paths forward: Treatment or surgery.
Ultimately, surgery was chosen. This is the second arthroscopic procedure Ball will undergo on his left knee. While a member of the Lakers in July 2018, he had surgery to repair a meniscus tear in that knee, but returned in time for Los Angeles' season opener.
A six to eight week return timeline establishes a window from March 3 - 17. The Bulls play 20 games between Jan. 20 and March 3, 26 between Jan. 20 and March 17.
The bright side is if Ball is able to make a full recovery within that window, it will give him around a month (and 13-20 games) to ramp up before the playoffs begin on April 16.
As of the day of the announcement, the Bulls sit atop the Eastern Conference with a 28-15 record. Ball, who was acquired via sign-and-trade last offseason and has been a linchpin for that success, is averaging 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting a career-best 42.3 percent from 3-point range (7.4 attempts per game).
His shooting and playmaking will be missed on offense, and his versatility and disruptive nature on defense. Ball is also the Bulls' second-leading minutes logger, averaging 34.6 per game.