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Bulls expecting Lonzo Ball to miss second consecutive season with knee injury

The Chicago Bulls are expecting point guard Lonzo Ball to miss the entire 2023-24 NBA season after the point guard underwent a third surgery on his left knee in March.

The Chicago Bulls are expecting to be without point guard Lonzo Ball for the entire 2023-24 NBA season as the second-overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft attempts to recover from another surgery on his left knee. 

Ball underwent cartilage transplant surgery in March and missed the 2022-23 season.

It was his third surgery on the knee that has not allowed him to play in a game since January 14, 2022. 

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"Everything is going well. Going into the offseason, I think our expectation is that he’s not coming back next season, and he’s going to continue on his recovery," executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said Thursday, per NBA.com. 

"If he comes back, it would be great, but we’re just going to treat this offseason and getting ready for the season that he’s not going to be back."

Ball first had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in February 2022 before missing the rest of the season. He underwent a second surgery in September 2022 and was ruled out for the rest of the season in February 2023. 

"My main focus has been on returning to the court and getting to a place where I can rejoin my teammates. This has been a frustrating process, but I’m confident these next steps are the best path forward," Ball said in a March statement announcing his third surgery.

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"The support of my family, friends, fans and medical staff throughout my recovery is what keeps me moving forward. I can’t wait to get back to what I love doing most – playing basketball." 

Karnisovas said Ball recently started walking on crutches.

"I hope eventually we’re going to see him on a basketball court," Karnisovas said. "But I do not think he’s going to be back next year."

Ball was a highly touted prospect out of UCLA when the Los Angeles Lakers drafted him with the second overall pick of the 2017 draft. 

He was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Ball agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract with the Bulls as part of a sign-and-trade with the Pelicans in 2021. 

Ball has averaged 11.9 points, 6.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in his career. 

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