Zach LaVine To Miss Bulls’ Season Opener

Zach LaVine won’t be available for the Bulls when they open their season in Miami on Wednesday night, the team announced today (via Twitter).

LaVine is listed as out for the game due to what the team is referring to as “left knee management.” He also may be ruled out for Friday’s game in Washington, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says the veteran guard likely won’t make his season debut until Saturday’s home opener vs. Cleveland.

LaVine’s left knee issue isn’t a new one. He dealt with it for much of last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery in the spring to address the problem. The Bulls subsequently signed the 27-year-old to a five-year, maximum-salary contract, expressing confidence that the knee wouldn’t be a long-term concern going forward.

After reporting to camp this fall, LaVine spoke repeatedly about how good his knee was feeling, and was able to play in three of four preseason games.

‘”I think that’s been the main thing, not having any aches and pains and being able to go out there and really play without any limitations in my own mind,” LaVine said after the Bulls’ preseason finale, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Like, ‘OK, I can’t go left.’ Or, ‘I might not be able to dunk on this play.’ You’re not supposed to be thinking that way when you play basketball. I dealt with that a lot last year.”

As Cowley details in a new story, LaVine gave a more cryptic explanation today when discussing the team’s decision to hold him out of its opener.

“I just want to make sure I’m safe in bringing myself back in and managing it,” LaVine said. “It’s the way it is. Just for going forward, I want to make sure I’m 100% at the end of the season, too. So I think the best thing is just managing it and having the team support, me supporting myself in going out there and being the best I can.’”

There seems to be a disconnect between LaVine’s preseason comments and the fact that he may miss the first two games of the regular season. Hopefully the Bulls are just being extra cautious with their star player and he doesn’t have to battle any recurring problems in that knee this season.

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