Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball may need a third surgical procedure on his left knee, requiring another six months of recovery and rehabilitation, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
Ball, who has not played in an NBA game since Jan. 14, 2022 and is out for the 2022-23 season, has undergone two surgeries on the same painful knee in the past 14 months. There is a belief that the former No. 2 overall draft pick may need a third surgery to select his best chance to play again, sources said.
The Bulls and Ball’s representatives from Klutch Sports are consulting and working with specialists before a final decision is made on surgery, sources said, but a procedure this month could further delay Ball’s return next season.
Ball, 25, has made progress in recent months but can’t run, cut or jump without pain. He is entering the second season of a four-year, $80 million free agency contract — a deal that began with great promise in 2021-22.
In his first season since coming over from the New Orleans Pelicans, Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds on 42% 3-point range. He played a key role offensively and defensively in Chicago’s 27-13 record before suffering an injury.
Since Ball’s absence, the Bulls have struggled and are now 30-36, 11th in the Eastern Conference.