Bulls’ Ball insists he’ll play again: ‘I’m only 25’

Lonzo Ball says he’ll ‘definitely’ play again despite knee surgeries

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Lonzo confident he’ll play again (0:42)

Bulls guard Lonzo Ball talks about his rehab process and plans to play again despite a series of knee surgeries. (0:42)

  • ESPN News Services

Oct 3, 2023, 07:50 AM ET

Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball insists he will play again despite a series of knee surgeries that have derailed his promising career.

Ball said Monday he is about halfway through the rehab process from a cartilage transplant in March — the third operation on his left knee in a little more than a year. The No. 2 overall draft selection from 2017 will miss his second consecutive season in 2023-24.

“I definitely plan on playing again,” Ball told reporters at media day. “After surgery three, I feel like it’s going well so far — no setbacks. So for me, it’s just keep my head up, just keep doing the work.”

Ball, who hasn’t played an NBA game since Jan. 14, 2022, reminded reporters that he is “only 25” and said “everything happens for a reason” when discussing his injured knee.

“I couldn’t control getting hurt or not getting hurt or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just something that happened to me, part of my career.

“I try to stay positive. I don’t look at the negatives. I try to think about what I can do to get better and that’s how I wake up every day and live.”

Ball said he plans to split time between Chicago and his home in Los Angeles as he works his way back. He signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Bulls in 2021 and played in 35 games during the 2021-22 season, but injuries have prevented him from taking the court since.

“The surgery was a really big surgery,” he said. “We all came together with a plan moving forward. It’s not really a set timeline, but I pretty much have this whole year to get as healthy as possible and get ready to play next season.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.