This Bulls season has been filled with injuries. From the starters to the bottom of the bench the Bulls have been in a tough position. However, to many people’s surprise, the Bulls are still atop the Eastern Conference. The main reason is forward DeMar DeRozan and his high level of play. But the team is still awaiting the return of two starters. One of which is All-Star guard Zach LaVine. He’s been the best player for the Bulls since he came over in 2017 and finally has great players surrounding him. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they haven’t seen this roster play a ton of games together. Now there’s concern that the Bulls could be without another core piece for a little bit. There hasn’t been any clear indication of this but there has been discussion surrounding LaVine’s knee.
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine has privately told people that he feels tightness and almost clicking at times with his left knee, per @KCJHoop on the Bulls Talk Podcast.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) February 15, 2022
LaVine last played on the 11th and has sat out each game since then and will until after the All-Star break. LaVine has gotten an MRI on that knee and no structural damage was discovered. But hearing that he feels tightness and clicking is a huge concern. This doesn’t sound like something that will heal soon and even if he feels relief it’s likely to come back once he gets back into games. So that leaves everyone wondering if we should be concerned.
Will this impact the team’s season?
If LaVine has something seriously wrong or can’t get his knee back to feeling right then this would be a huge blow to the team. A team that’s already struggling at the guard position due to additional injuries. That would leave the Bulls without both starting guards and would be tough to bounce back from. But before we get there we need to look at what we know. All we know is LaVine went to LA to see a specialist and he still plans to participate in the All-Star break.
Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine will travel to Los Angeles to see a specialist for his left knee early this week, sources tell ESPN. LaVine has been dealing with recurring discomfort and will get further evaluation. He’s still planning to participate in All-Star Weekend.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 13, 2022
So that’s good news, right? To me, that sounds like good news. If it was something serious he wouldn’t be participating in the All-Star game. But the concern is more not knowing what is actually wrong. If this is something like tendonitis it’s going to flare up often during the season. That might mean LaVine is missing time throughout the season. There would certainly be a rehab component to that as well. While a normal person in the world may struggle with tendonitis an athlete in the NBA would likely be in a much better position. Rehab facilities and workouts designed to help tendonitis would be at your disposal. Don’t take my word for the tendonitis diagnosis here’s a doctor’s take on it.
Zach Lavine feels ‘tightness’ and ‘clicking’ in his knee
—MRI negative for structural damage
—Pain with jumping, landing
Sounds like Patellofemoral pain syndrome (jumper’s knee)
— Dr. Evan Jeffries, DPT (@GameInjuryDoc) February 15, 2022
On the surface, it’s nothing to be worried about but it is still something to monitor. If he has a flare-up in pregame it could keep him out. It’s tough to know what the impact will be but for now, this is all we know.
LaVine appears to be in good spirits
We haven’t heard anything officially from LaVine regarding the knee. All we get are snippets from the rumor mill and this time from another player.
Nikola Vucevic said after Bulls shootaround that he spoke with Zach LaVine last night to see how he was doing after knee appointment
Said LaVine “seemed to be in positive spirits… hopefully we can get him back sooner than later”
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) February 16, 2022
While this doesn’t exactly tell us much it at least tells us that something wasn’t horribly wrong. If there was then Nikola Vucevic wouldn’t be talking about getting him back sooner than later. It’s also good to note that he seems to be positive. With everything this team has gone through they need LaVine to be alright. This is another reason why I don’t think the panic button needs to be pressed in Chicago.
This team will be dangerous when at full strength
We haven’t heard anything directly from LaVine regarding his knee but we have heard his thoughts on the team. He sits in the same boat as most Bulls fans when it comes to the future of this team.
“We’re No. 2 in the East right now, and the scary thing is, we aren’t even healthy.”
– Zach LaVine
(Via https://t.co/kZ2xBLV9oL) pic.twitter.com/Dr6LCZCaG0
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 16, 2022
Once this team gets healthy the league needs to watch out. A healthy Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball with the currently surging duo of DeRozan and Vucevic will be tough to compete against. This team still has a long way to go before they are fully healthy but they are getting there. As long as the current cast of players can weather the storm and keep the Bulls on top of the East then they will be alright. They need to keep themselves from falling into play in territory at all costs.
While we don’t know all the details surrounding LaVine’s knee I think we know enough to not be panicking at this point. It’s concerning at this stage but not something to panic about. Hopefully, we hear more details soon. Best case scenario we see LaVine take the floor over the weekend looking as healthy as can be.
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