Lonzo Ball has surgery, but recovery time is a mystery
Lonzo Ball had cartilage transplant surgery on his left knee Monday. What comes next is unclear.
Cartilage transplant is a relatively new procedure, where often times cartilage cells are grown in a lab, then inserted and attached to the patient's knee. So there's no real example of an NBA player going through this procedure and returning to play, but there have always been advances in medicine.
"I know he's going to work really hard," Bulls coach Billy Donovan told reporters before Monday's game in Philadelphia. "I know that they felt the surgery went well. But I do agree that there's nothing that's out there that says, 'Hey, here's how guys have come back and been able to respond to this.'
"But I do know that all the information he was able to gather just from different sets of doctors, making the decision that he felt that this was the best chance to be able to get him back on the court."
Ball's saga has become a familiar story. He hasn't played in a game since Jan. 14, 2022. He had an arthroscopic surgery about two weeks later, hoping to return before the playoffs. That didn't happen and Ball had another surgery on Sept. 28 when he continued to feel pain during summer rehab.
Ball posted video of him running on a treadmill during the winter, but the Bulls officially declared him out for the season during the all-star break. The 25-year-old California native had an earlier arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after his rookie season with the Lakers in 2018.
"We all understand that's going to be an uphill battle for him," Donovan said. "But I know that he's going to do everything possible in his rehab to get himself back on the court.
"The only thing I've heard is it's indefinite on how long he'll be out. I did not really get a timetable. My feeling would be next year's training camp, you have to go in there with him not being available. You have to prepare like that."