Back in March, Ball had a cartilage transplant in his left knee — his third surgery on that knee since he initially got hurt in January of 2022.
“[I’m] just taking it day by day, bro. I just had a really big surgery. Hopefully, the last one I ever have to get,” Ball said. “It’s a long process. I’m already out this whole next season.”
The fact that Ball will be sidelined all season isn’t too surprising, as Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas hinted that this might be the case back in June.
“Everything is going well,” Karnisovas said at the time. “I think our expectation is that he’s not coming back next season and he’s going to continue on his recovery. If he comes back, it would be great.”
Ball hasn’t played in an NBA game since Jan. 14, 2022. Prior to his injury, he was averaging 13 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.1 threes and 1.8 steals, while shooting a career-high 42.3% from three-point range.
“When I first got hurt, we didn’t really know what it was,” Ball said during Young’s podcast. “I was seeing all type of different doctors and stuff. I was just kind of going up and down. That was really hard for me because I just didn’t know what the next day was going to be like.
“At least now, I got the surgery. We got a plan moving forward. We’ve been on plan. I’m on track. Hopefully, everything works out. I just leave it up to God and do the best I can and live with the results.”
Ball is frustrated that he hasn’t been able to play alongside his Bulls teammates, as he feels Chicago’s roster perfectly complements his game.
“It’s going to be a big what-if,” Ball said. “I feel bad, just for the [Bulls’] GMs because I feel like they made the perfect team around me. That was the most I’ve ever been involved in an organization and I finally got the perfect team that I felt like could fit my game and play my way and really just do what I wanted to do, so that injury — I’m still going through it right now — but that one messed me up early because I felt like we had a chance and never got to see what it was.”
Recently, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Ball’s injury is so bad that he has trouble standing up from a seated position. Ball responded by posting a video on social-media that showed him sitting down and standing up with ease, while calling out Smith’s inaccurate reporting.
Over the course of Ball’s five-year NBA career, the 25-year-old has averaged 11.9 points, 6.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 2.4 threes and 1.6 steals per game. Since being selected No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft, Ball has emerged as a terrific passer and lockdown perimeter defender.