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Bulls Star Explains Secret Behind Latest Surgery

Chicago Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball, prior to injury

Having solved the riddle of complex knee injury that’s kept him sidelined since 2022, Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is gearing up for a return to the court in 2024-25.

Appearing on his podcast, What An Experience, the 6-foot-6 playmaker delves into the mystery of tricky meniscus.

“To make a long story short,” Ball begins, “ultimately, it started with a meniscus tear. It basically started on the (Los Angeles) Lakers when I tore it the first time. I tore it a couple more times to a point to where there was no more meniscus left and bone-on-bone was rubbing.”

“So the cartilage was gone and the bone was messed up,” he explains, revealing that he “had to get new meniscus from a donor.”

“I had to get a bone allograft and I had to get some new cartilage put in as well,” Ball adds. “All that healed up and I’m back on the court now.”

Ball’s Health Is Key

In regard to what he calls a “wasted year,” the 26-year-old insists that the problem was “trying to figure out what the problem was.” That said, there concerns that the injury simply wasn’t healing. As a result, his coloring in-between the lines helps instill confidence in his future availability. Nonetheless, until he steps on the court, nobody knows what will happen.

The Bulls need him healthy though.

With the 11th overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, they could draft USC point guard Isaiah Collier. A big-bodied floor general with a well-rounded game, Collier was the best player in the country coming out of high school. However, point guard is one of the most difficult positions to transition to at the NBA level. He’d likely need time to adjust.

Former top-10 pick Coby White stepped up in 2023-24 with 19.1 points and 5.1 assists per game. Nonetheless, he’s neither the facilitator nor defender that Ball is. At 6-foot-5, he has enough length to play beside Ball in the backcourt though.

To that point, with star guard Zach LaVine on the trade block, Chicago may have his replacement on the roster.

White is a great 3-point shooter and can heat up quickly. Seven-year veteran Alex Caruso is a stellar defender and efficient from outside. Due to Ayo Dosunmu’s size, defense and post-All-Star Break development, he’s a viable option as well.

Frontcourt Fixes

If Ball can play, the Bulls will have a clearer view to focus of their frontcourt needs. Even if they re-sign DeMar DeRozan, and there’s no guarantee they will, their big man unit needs tinkering. However, if Ball is dishing, swishing, and picking up opposing point guards, the type of bigs they’re looking for could be different.

Rui or Randle?

Considering LaVine’s rumored suitors, players like Lakers forward Rui Hachimura should be targeted. An athletic multipositional defender and three-level scorer, he’s potentially a long-term solution for the Bulls’ power forward spot. After nearly two years as LeBron James’ understudy, the 26-year-old is primed for a breakout.

However, given DeRozan’s plea the Bulls to get him help and LaVine’s star status, they may be able to swing a trade for New York Knicks forward Julius Randle. Randle isn’t as adept a defender as Hachimura. However, though both he and Hachimura are able to rain in buckets from anywhere within the hashes, he’s a far more proven scorer.

LaVine’s injury history depreciates his value in a potential trade. Nonetheless, Randle’s own issues with durability makes this a more balanced transaction than it seems on the surface. Furthermore, stylistically, LaVine’s a great fit beside Jalen Brunson in the halfcourt with his 3-point shooting. He also takes a lot of pressure off of the Knicks star due to his ball-handling ability and scoring prowess.

John or Jalen, or Josh and Jaylin?

Utah Jazz forward-center John Collins and Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren should be among Detroit’s options at center. They’re both more nimble than Nikola Vucevic and better defenders. Duren is the more fluid athlete and a better rebounder. However, Collins is the better shot-blocker as he has better awareness than the 20-year-old.

Oklahoma City Thunder center Jaylin Williams, a career 38.5 percent 3-point shooter, could also be a trade target. This is particularly true if the Bulls are parting ways with Vucevic, as the Thunder could use help on the boards. If they include the No. 11 pick, this could also lead to Chicago landing guard Josh Giddey, whose passing prowess is undeniable.

Though they had the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, Oklahoma City ranked 27th in rebounds per game (42.0) in 2023-24. This came back to bite them against the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals, where they were met their demise. Held to 40.5 rebounds per game, the Thunder were severely outmatched on the boards.

Vucevic has the eighth-high rebounding average (10.5) among active players.


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