After being ruled out for the Bulls‘ regular season opener due to “left knee management,” Zach LaVine told reporters that his absence was simply precautionary and that the left knee he underwent arthroscopic surgery on in the spring still felt fine. However, head coach Billy Donovan offered a different story when he spoke to the media, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago.
“There was a lot of very, very physically demanding practices, to be quite honest with you, coming out of the Milwaukee game,” Donovan said, referring to last Tuesday’s preseason finale. “And I think after a few of those, he felt some discomfort.”
As Donovan observed, the Bulls open the season with seven games in 11 days, so they didn’t want to ride their star swingman too hard out of the gate. LaVine’s absence won’t be “a long-term thing where he’s out for weeks,” according to Chicago’s head coach, who insisted that any discomfort LaVine felt didn’t come as a surprise to the club and is part of the recovery process.
“This is not, to me, anything that is unexpected,” Donovan said. “He’s going to experience, at times, whatever word you want to use, discomfort, soreness, whatever it is.”
Here are a few more updates on health issues from around the NBA:
- Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland left Wednesday’s opener in the second quarter after getting hit in the face by Toronto’s Gary Trent Jr. during a steal attempt and sustaining a left eyelid laceration, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “His head and everything was clear,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “But he was cut and bleeding pretty bad from the inside of his eyelid.” According to Fedor, there’s no clarity yet on how much time Garland might miss, but the consensus among those who saw him after the game was that the eye “looked like it was in bad shape.”
- Myles Turner‘s ankle sprain isn’t considered serious, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said after Wednesday’s game, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link). It’s still unclear when Turner will return to action after missing Indiana’s opener on Wednesday, but it sounds like the team isn’t expecting it to be a long-term issue.
- Kings rookie forward Keegan Murray cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday and was in attendance at shootaround, though he didn’t play in the team’s season opener, tweets James Ham of ESPN 1320 Sacramento. Murray should be ready to make his regular season debut soon, after he clears the necessary conditioning benchmarks.