Zach LaVine injury update: Bulls guard to be re-evaluated next week with left knee issue

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine had an MRI on his left knee Saturday morning, after injuring it just three minutes into Friday’s 138-96 loss to the Golden State Warriors. He was ruled out for the Bulls’ next game against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, but his status beyond that was unknown at the time.

But now it appears as though the Bulls can exhale a bit, as the team announced Saturday that LaVine’s MRI showed no significant structural damage and he’ll be re-evaluated in a week. 

Per the Bulls:

“Bulls guard Zach LaVine suffered an injury to his left knee early in the first quarter of last night’s game vs. Golden State. He underwent an MRI Saturday morning which revealed no significant structural damage. LaVine has begun a period of targeted therapy and will be reassessed early next week when a more definitive timetable will be determined. LaVine is not expected to miss significant time.”

It’s unclear when the injury occurred exactly, but with the Warriors set to inbound the ball with 8:28 left in the first quarter Friday night, LaVine intentionally fouled Stephen Curry and walked directly to the Bulls’ locker room. It’s also worth noting that LaVine tore the ACL in the same knee in 2017 as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I think he came down for an offensive rebound and felt some discomfort and tried to play on it a little bit, but didn’t feel quite right,” Donovan said after the game.

Though LaVine will miss some time, it isn’t expected to be significant, which is a huge break for the Bulls who currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 27-13 record. LaVine’s been an integral part of the Bulls’ ascent this season, as he’s averaging 25.6 points and 4.3 assists this year on incredibly efficient 49/41/87 shooting splits. The duo of LaVine and DeMar DeRozan is one of the most potent offensive one-two punches in the league, and are certainly on track to get the Bulls back to the playoffs for the first time in four years. 

Missing LaVine for the next few games won’t be ideal for the Bulls, especially after an abysmal showing on Friday night after he exited the game, but Chicago still has the talent to tread water while LaVine’s knee heals. It will just mean that DeRozan, who has garnered MVP attention this season, will have to shoulder even more responsibility on offense in LaVine’s absence, which he’s certainly capable of doing.

Over the next week, the Bulls have games against the Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic. Hopefully, LaVine won’t have to miss much more time than that small handful of games. 

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