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In March of last year, Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball underwent a rare surgical procedure on his injured left knee: a cartilage transplant. On the latest episode of his podcast, Ball, who hasn't played in an NBA game since January 2022, said that he also had a meniscus transplant, a second rare surgical procedure.

"To make a long story short, ultimately, it started with a meniscus tear," Ball said. "It basically started on the Lakers, when I tore it the first time. I 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 new cartilage put in as well. 

"All that finally healed up, and now I'm back on the court now. It really was about, I would say we're like, what, 14, 15 months in now. So, the stuff before that, we were trying to figure out what the problem was, so that was a wasted year. But now we're here."

In other words, this all goes back to 2018, when, as a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, he partially tore the meniscus in his left knee. He tore it again in January 2022, during his first season with Chicago, and, after being sidelined for more than a full calendar year, he underwent the rare procedures, having exhausted his other surgical and non-surgical options.

On "The WAE Show" Ball said that, after all this, he's confident he'll be in uniform on opening night in October.

"Yes, I firmly believe that," Ball said. "That's the plan that I'm on, and I haven't had any setbacks, so I expect to play the first game."

If Ball indeed makes a comeback, it will be historic. No NBA player -- or any professional athlete, for that matter -- has returned to competition after having either a cartilage transplant or a meniscus transplant, let alone both.

During his end-of-season press conference last month, Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas said that Ball was "improving, and we'll see where he's at the next couple months." Karnisovas added that Ball was "progressing well" and there had not been any setbacks.

Ball is dunking again, per the podcast. He said he "can get up a little bit right now," but still has "some improvements to be made."