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Lonzo Ball expects to suit up with the Bulls for the first game of the 2024-25 season

Lonzo Ball expects to suit up with the Bulls for the first game of the 2024-25 season

Lonzo Ball expects to suit up with the Bulls for the first game of the 2024-25 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball said he's about 70% healthy on the first episode of his new podcast "What An Experience." On the second episode, which dropped on Friday, he detailed his expectations for his highly-anticipated return to the NBA floor.

"I firmly believe that," Ball said when asked if he expects to suit up for the Bulls this season. "That's the plan that I'm on and I haven't had any setbacks.

"I expect to play the first game."

In the first episode, Ball said he could likely return to the floor present day if he wished. But he obviously wants to continue rehabbing to further his status closer to 100%.

Ball hasn't stepped on an NBA floor since January 2022. Since then, he's undergone three separate knee surgeries, including a meniscus repair, arthroscopic debridement and cartilage transplant. He explained the gruesome details of his injury on the podcast, too.

"To make a long story short, ultimately, it started with the meniscus tear," Ball said. "Basically, it started on the Lakers when I tore it the first time. Tore it a couple more times to a point to where there was no more, basically, not much meniscus left and bone on bone was rubbing.

"So the cartilage was gone and the bone was messed up so I had to get, actually, a new meniscus from a donor. I had to get a bone allograft and I had to get some cartilage put in, as well. All that, finally, healed up and I'm back on the court now."

Returning to the floor would be an incredible, historic achievement for Ball. Seemingly, no athlete has returned to competition from an injury to the degree of Ball's.

This is undoubtedly the closest Ball has come to returning to an NBA floor in 2.5 years. There were early instances in Ball's rehab when he couldn't perform everyday tasks without pain, such as walking up stairs or jumping.

It's a pivotal offseason for Ball, who's going into the final year of the four-year deal he struck with the Bulls in the summer of 2021. In the first week of May, Ball assured that, picking up his player option worth $21.3 million on the last year of his contract.

On the radio with 670 The Score during the first week of April, Ball's father, LaVar, projected his son has 4-to-5 months before he can play 5-on-5 basketball with full contact. A four-month timeline from LaVar's projection slates Lonzo to return around August; a return closer to five months would put him in early September.

Either of those dates puts him in line to be ready to go when the regular season starts in October.

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