(670 The Score) The Bulls on Wednesday shared more bad news on guard Lonzo Ball’s ailing left knee.
Ball, 24, will undergo an arthroscopic debridement surgery on his left knee next Wednesday in Los Angeles, the team said. After that procedure, Ball will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks, and it currently remains unclear when he could be healthy enough to return to action. The goal of a debridement procedure is to remove cartilage and damaged tissue that can create pain and inhibit movement.
The latest development surrounding Ball’s health wasn’t much of a surprise. His left knee has ailed him since last January, when he was sidelined by pain. Ball then underwent surgery in late January to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, and he didn’t return to action by the end of the season as the team had initially anticipated.
The Bulls also acknowledged that Ball was plagued by a bone bruise. Each time Ball tried to ramp up his activity close to full speed, he suffered from knee discomfort. That continued to plague Ball over the summer as he both rested and rehabbed after visiting specialists, NBC Sports Chicago reported. Ball also had surgery on to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee in 2018 while with the Lakers.
Ball’s absence for the start of the regular season and perhaps well into the campaign is a devastating blow for the Bulls, as he was crucial to their identity last year. Ball played in 35 games last season, averaging 13 points and 5.1 assists while also shooting 42.3% from 3-point range on high volume. He was a strong defender, the catalyst of their transition game that was so successful early on and also a floor spacer and connector of their offense in the half-court setting.
Ball has three seasons left on a four-year, $80-million contract.
Ball’s absence will lead to bigger roles for fellow guards Ayo Dosumnu, Coby White and veteran Goran Dragic, whom the Bulls added in free agency this summer.
The Bulls’ regular-season opener is set for Oct. 19.
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.