LONZO BALL

1/20/22, 10:23 PM

Updated:

Lonzo Ball having surgery means what for the Bulls?

Bottom line is probably not much this year, IF reports so far are accurate. He’s expected back in 6-8 weeks - well before the playoffs in April - and he should bounce back quickly to his pre-injury level (13 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast). No major short term risk of re-injury here, so expect minimal impact on Lonzo and the Bulls 2022 playoff run.

Long-term, meniscus tears tend to shorten careers and affect in-season durability, and this is unfortunately Lonzo’s second go-around with his left knee. Dwayne Wade comes to mind as another NBA star who underwent multiple meniscectomies. Especially towards the end of his career, we saw his load managed to keep the knee from acting up.

Luckily, Ball plays a less aggressively explosive style than Wade did, and he’s young enough (24) that he probably still has 5+ years before he sees any real impact. What happens after that time is hard to predict, but NBA data suggest that’s when the wear and tear on this knee could come into play. Hopefully he gets this issue treated and it never bothers him again, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a load management situation develop late into his career.

It’s worth discussing the caveat above that these predictions hold up only IF reports so far are accurate. We’re hearing that Lonzo has a small tear, and reported return timelines imply that they are removing - rather than repairing - the torn meniscus in his knee. Generally, meniscus surgery comes with the possibility of repairing the tissue - a decision made based on size, location, and tissue quality - which is better in the long run, but would also likely shut down Lonzo through the whole playoffs. Sounds like they’re leaning away from this, but it’s definitely on the radar that reported timeline post-surgery could be a lot longer than what we’re hearing now. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Photo Credit: Melissa Tamez, Icon Sportswire