Bulls' Lonzo Ball says he had meniscus transplant, expects to be ready for opener

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball says he got a new meniscus when he underwent a cartilage transplant in his left knee last year and expects to be ready for the season opener.

Ball, who hasn't played since January 2022, said he also underwent a bone allograft, where the replacement bone comes from another person. He said during an episode of his “The WAE Show” podcast that dropped Friday that the issues dated to when he tore his meniscus in 2018 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

“To make a long story short, ultimately, it started with the meniscus tear,” Ball said. “Basically, it started on the Lakers when I tore it the first time. Tore it a couple more times to a point to where there was no more meniscus left, with bone-on-bone rubbing. So the cartilage was gone. The bone was messed up.”

The Bulls acquired Ball from New Orleans in a sign-and-trade deal prior to the 2021-22 season. He got off to a good start in Chicago, averaging 13 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 42.3% on 3-pointers over 35 games before being derailed. He had a cartilage transplant in March 2023, his third operation on the knee in a little more than a year.

Ball said it took about 14 or 15 months to figure out the issue in his knee. He had several starts and stops after he was initially sidelined, and he experienced pain jumping and walking up stairs. But he insisted he plans to be ready for the opener.

“I firmly believe that,” he said. “That's the plan that I'm on and I haven't had any setbacks. I expect to play the first game.”



The Associated Press