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Why The Lonzo Ball Report Is (And Isn’t) Concerning For Avalanche And Landeskog

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Gabriel Landeskog Avalanche nhl

Colorado Avalanche fans didn’t need another reason to be concerned about the long-term health of Captain Gabriel Landeskog. But on Saturday , they got one.

“The other thing I heard is even though publicly there has been an expression of guarded optimism regarding a future for Lonzo Ball,” Bernstein said. “And there’s a reason why for you’re pursuant to all kinds of union issues, why they haven’t asked for the salary exemption yet because they don’t want to send the message publicly that they’re done with him. They don’t think it’s likely that he ever plays again.”

That’s 670 The Score’s Dan Bernstein speaking about Lonzo Ball. Back in March, Lonzo Ball underwent cartilage transplant surgery on his left knee. It was the fourth surgery performed on his left knee in his lifetime, and third since joining Chicago back in 2021.

Sound familiar?

Earlier this month, Landeskog said that Ball was one of the few guys he had spoken with regarding his upcoming cartilage transplant surgery. In the 14 months prior, Landeskog underwent two other procedures on his right knee.

“It was nice to talk to somebody that has gone through the same thing, and same frustration, regarding the injury,” he said. “I’m sure that’s a guy that I’ll be checking in with once and a while.”

The reality is, no one really knows what the future holds for Landeskog. While there are studies that show this procedure has a success rate of around 85 percent, it’s a pretty new procedure for elite athletes. It’s especially uncommon for hockey players.

By now, everyone knows Marc Methot’s story. He had the same surgery performed by the same surgeon and never returned to play in the NHL. When he had the surgery done, he was 33 years old. Landeskog is currently 30, while Ball is only 25. Beyond that, it’s hard to find other high-end athletes who have had the procedure done, and every single person is different. Before his surgery, Methot said he had struggles doing day-to-day things. Back in April, Landeskog said he’s still able to live a normal life, he just has issues skating, so each situation is not the same.

By all accounts, Landeskog’s surgery was a success. Rehab will be long and grueling. Before the surgery, Landeskog was positive and optimistic he will be back.

“I’m confident,” Landeskog said about his ability to return to his high level of play. “I think it’s an optimism and confidence that you need to have.”

This report on Ball comes from the side of the organization. We don’t know what the Avalanche really think internally, and even they might not know what to think. It’s such a new surgery, and without a long history of this procedure on other NHL players, it’s hard to know what to really think.

Should there be concern regarding Landeskog? Absolutely. Based off the initial timeline given for his return, he will have gone at least two years since he last played an NHL hockey game. That’s tough to come back from no matter who you are. Any smart organization, like the Avalanche, has probably played the worst-case scenario in their heads a million times.

But all we can do is be patient, and let everything play out. The Bulls might internally believe one thing, but Ball will keep working. Landeskog will do the same. If there’s someone out there who has the will and fight to come back from something like this, it’s him.

And Landeskog is not someone I would ever bet against.

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