Zach LaVine Cleared For Contact, Nearing Return

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.

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5 thoughts on “Zach LaVine Cleared For Contact, Nearing Return

  1. JD396

    I looked at that .486/.387/.836 slash and wondered how you can have an OBP lower than your batting average. Too many sports in one app for me to keep them straight.

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      • bravesfan88
        bravesfan88

        Lol…Good one

        All jokes aside though, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of effect LaVine can have on this team. His ability to rebound from this injury is going to be absolutely huge for this Bulls’ rebuild moving forward.

        With Markkanen steadily making improvements, Dunn starting to come around offensively, Lopez’s and Holliday’s steady solid performances, and Portis and Mirotic coming back this team might be able to show a little promise heading into the 2018-2019 season…

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        • bravesfan88
          bravesfan88

          Also, can’t forget the job David Nwaba has done this year rebounding and defensively…He’s been a suprise bright spot for this team when healthy…

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          • bravesfan88
            bravesfan88

            The line up will look much better when you have Dunn, LaVine, Holliday, Markkanen, and Lopez in the starting line-up…Then they will have Grant, Portis, Mirotic, and Nwaba for the bench..

            They are still lacking some shooters and playmakers, especially in their second unit, but with another solid draft and with the additions of a Lou Williams, a Luke Babbit, maybe a Nick Young, and an Omri Casspi to round out the bench..Plus, with a Cousins or Brook Lopez in free agency, to play alonside Markkanen…This team could rebuild pretty quickly and effectively…That’s obviously just a pipe dream, but it certainly isn’t impossible, nor all that unrealistic…

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