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Bulls G Lonzo Ball, ‘only 25,’ plans to play again after surgeries

Don’t close the book on Lonzo Ball just yet, the Chicago Bulls guard warned Tuesday.

Despite having three surgeries on his left knee in a little more than a year’s time, Ball said he expects to resume his NBA career when he recovers.

Ball hasn’t played in an NBA game since Jan. 14, 2022, and will miss the 2023-24 season. Most recently, he had a cartilage transplant done in March. It’s caused some to wonder whether the ongoing knee problems will sideline Ball for good.

“I definitely plan on playing again,” Ball told reporters at media day. “After surgery three, I feel like it’s going well so far — no setbacks. So for me, it’s just keep my head up, just keep doing the work.”

The former No. 2 overall pick pointed out that he is “only 25” and underwent “a really big surgery” in order to set himself for the long term.

“We all came together with a plan moving forward. It’s not really a set timeline, but I pretty much have this whole year to get as healthy as possible and get ready to play next season.”

The New Orleans Pelicans signed Ball to a four-year, $85 million contract in August 2021, then shipped him to the Bulls in a sign-and-trade deal. In his lone season with the Bulls, Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals in just 35 games.

Without Ball, the Bulls lost in the first round of the playoffs that season, and then lost in the Eastern Conference play-in tourney in 2022-23.

The NBA granted Chicago a $10.2 million injury exception for Ball this past July.

In 252 career games (239 starts) over five seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers (2017-19), Pelicans (2019-21) and Bulls, Ball averaged 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.6 steals.

–Field Level Media

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