CHICAGO — Even after missing the last two full seasons and undergoing three surgeries on his left knee, the Bulls’ point guard believes he is far from done with basketball.

While some on the outside have cast doubt about that, Lonzo Ball is quite confident that you’ll see him on the floor in the future.

“I definitely plan on playing again,” said Ball when asked if he believes he’ll play in the NBA again despite 2 1/2 years of setbacks that have kept him off the court. “Like I said, I’m only 25. I feel like the rehab process has been going well so far, no setbacks. For me, it’s just keeping my head up and keep doing the work.”

Doing so has taken incredible patience for the guard who had a promising start to his Bulls’ career after joining the team in a sign-and-trade with the Pelicans in the summer of 2021. He had his first left knee surgery in January 2022, missing the rest of the season, then had another in September 2022 when the pain persisted.

That didn’t do it either, so in March of this year, he underwent a cartilage transplant surgery in an effort to fix the issue. This will keep him out for the entire 2023-2024 season.

“I’m getting better each week,” said Ball when asked about the rehab process. “That’s all I can ask for.”

Yet there’s no guarantee when the guard will start basketball activities and when he along with the Bulls will get an idea when he might be able to take the court again.

“It’s not really, what I would say, a set timeline, but I pretty much have this whole year to get as healthy as possible and be ready to go next season. Like I said, I’m taking it each week, just trying to stay positive and take it like that.”

Ball will split time between Los Angeles and Chicago over the next few months, continuing his rehab on the west coast while supporting his Bulls’ teammates. He described the group as having a “new energy” ahead of the 2023-2024 season, yet Ball isn’t losing his positivity even though he won’t join them on the court for at least a year.”

“Everything happens for a reason. I couldn’t control getting hurt or not getting hurt or anything like that and it’s just something that happened to me, part of my career,” said Ball.
I try to stay positive, I don’t look at the negative, I try to think about what I can do to get better, and that’s how I wake up every day and live.”