Zach LaVine, who missed the Bulls‘ loss in Detroit on Sunday due to a right knee patellar tendon strain, is considered doubtful for Chicago’s Tuesday contest vs. the Lakers, head coach Jim Boylen told reporters today (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune).
LaVine is still being listed as day-to-day, but Boylen indicated today that the Bulls will proceed very cautiously with the injury (Twitter link via Johnson). While there haven’t been any conversations yet about shutting down the team’s top scorer for the rest of the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that topic is broached soon, per The Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).
LaVine, who turned 24 on Sunday, has been playing some of the best basketball of his career in recent weeks. In his last 14 games, he has averaged 26.9 PPG, 5.4 APG, and 5.2 RPG, with a shooting line of .509/.442/.739. The Bulls, who are 19-49 on the season, held their own during that stretch with a 7-7 record.
However, Boylen acknowledged today that the franchise has to be aware that it’s not really playing for anything at this point of the season, and the Bulls don’t want to risk any player’s future “for one win” (Twitter link via The Chicago Sun-Times). Typically, this is the time of the year when teams jockeying for lottery seeding rather than playoff seeding are very conservative with injuries to key players.
“There’s no reason to go out there and try to risk anything right now,” LaVine said (Twitter link via Johnson). “It’s not smart.”
Ryan Arcidiacono, who took LaVine’s spot in the starting lineup on Sunday, is among the players who could see increased roles as long as LaVine remains sidelined. Shaquille Harrison, Wayne Selden, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are among the other candidates for extra minutes.