Zach LaVine is inching closer to making his debut with the Bulls, having been cleared for contact as he continues to recover from last season’s ACL tear, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. LaVine received clearance on Monday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the Los Angeles-based surgeon who performed his ACL surgery in February.
LaVine isn’t quite ready for game action yet, but he’s getting closer. As Sam Smith of Bulls.com details, the 22-year-old guard could suit up for the Bulls for the first time within the next month or so, as he’s aiming to return at some point in December.
“It should be (mid- or late-December),” LaVine said. “That’s what I’m going for. As long as I’m progressing and I’m doing what I need to on the court, this thing could go fast and I could be out there playing with the guys.
“It’s feel,” LaVine added. “It can be tomorrow. I might be like. ‘I feel great, let me get in the game.’ Or it could be in two or three weeks; I don’t know yet.”
It remains to be seen whether LaVine will go on a G League assignment as part of his recovery, or if he’ll be on a minutes limit when he gets back on the court. But his pending return is good news for the Bulls, who could use LaVine’s scoring and playmaking ability in their backcourt. Before tearing his ACL last season, the former UCLA standout was enjoying a career year in Minnesota, averaging 18.9 PPG on .459/.387/.836 shooting.
The Bulls acquired LaVine from the Timberwolves in June’s Jimmy Butler blockbuster, penciling him as a key piece of their long-term core. The former lottery pick will be a restricted free agent in 2018, but the Bulls has given strong indications that they expect to lock him up to a multiyear deal at that point.