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Lonzo Ball will not play at all during the 2023-24 NBA season.
Chicago Bulls President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas confirmed the news Thursday night.
“I think our expectation is that he’s not coming back next season and he’s going to continue on his recovery,” Karnišovas said. “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 next season.”
While the update isn’t great for Bulls fans, it’s not unexpected either.
Ball missed the 2022-23 season with a knee injury, and he had a third operation on the knee in March.
But it wasn’t your typical knee surgery. It was a cartilage transplant.
“That was our speculation when we heard about experimental cartilage replacement surgery,” 670 The Score’s Dan Bernstein said. “It is incredibly rare and is much more likely being done just for his quality of life off of the basketball court.”
Lonzo Ball’s Future In Basketball Is Unclear
In fact, Bernstein said last month the Bulls organization doesn’t expect the 25-year-old ever to play again.
“The other thing I heard is even though publicly there has been an expression of guarded optimism regarding a future for Lonzo Ball,” Bernstein said. “And there’s a reason why for your pursuant to all kinds of union issues, why they haven’t asked for the salary exemption yet because they don’t want to send the message publicly that they’re done with him.”
The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Bulls acquired him before the 2021-22 season.
Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 14, 2022, when he left the game with knee soreness. That injury was eventually revealed to be a small meniscus tear.
Ball averaged 11.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 252 career games.