Chicago’s Lonzo Ball reveals he received meniscus transplant from donor

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Bulls optimistic on Lonzo Ball's knee injury recovery

We’ve all heard the story about Lonzo Ball’s two-year recovery, as he last played an NBA match on January 2022, due to a recurrent knee injury. Now that he finally seems to be healthy and ready for next season, many details have been emerging about this long process. 

This past Friday, the athlete spoke on his podcast The WAE Show and revealed that part of his recovery meant he had to undergo a meniscus transplant from a donor. According to the Bulls star, his knee issues date to 2018, which was the first time he tore his meniscus as a Lakers player. 

After these recurrent injuries, the guard admitted that eventually he had run out of cartilage, and required a transplant meniscus procedure. “There was no more meniscus left, and bone on bone was rubbing,” Lonzo shared. 

“The cartilage was gone and the bone was messed up, so I had to get a new meniscus from a donor,” the player then added. “I had to get a bone allograft, and I had to get some new cartilage put in as well.”

The point guard has spent over a year seeing different specialists who’ve been trying to find the best solution to his knee issues, as he had already undergone cartilage transplant surgery in March 2023, which was his third medical procedure in a calendar year. The Bulls announced that they believed his last intervention will finally take him back to the NBA courts. 

Ball and the Bulls said at the time that they believed this surgery would give him the best chance to return to the court again and ruled him out of this past season. “We were trying to figure out what the problem was, so that was a wasted year,” Ball expressed on his own podcast.

Even though the Chicago star missed out on the entirety of the 2023/24 campaign, he was finally able to rehabilitate without the same feeling of discomfort he’s had in the past while doing simple training drills. A couple of weeks ago, a video surfaced of him practicing as he told the press he felt 70% ready for his return. 

Despite already feeling healthier, Lonzo revealed that he will workout all summer to be ready for the 2024/24 campaign

Earlier this month, Ball announced he was finally training without pain, but would still have to dedicate to build himself up throughout the postseason. His hopes are to start playing on the first day of the 2024/25 season. 

“Good enough to play, but it could still get better I feel like,” said the Bulls star, who exercised his player option earlier this month for the final season of a four-year, $80 million contract. “Still got a long summer ahead of me, but definitely looking forward to the future.”

Lonzo, who has only played 35 games for the Chicago franchise, should be 100% in October. “I firmly believe that,” Ball insisted. “That’s the plan that I’m on, and I haven’t had any setbacks. I expect to play the first game.”

The Illinois club also expects him to be ready. “We’re just going to wait and see his progression next couple months,” said Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations. “He’s progressing well. Everything is looking [good] with no setbacks, so we’ll see where he’s at in a couple months.”