Speaking on Thursday to reporters, including K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, Bulls guard Zach LaVine said he had originally hoped to return to action on Wednesday or Friday, but his injured foot didn’t respond well when he attempted to ramp up his work, so he and the team decided to take a more cautious approach. The Bulls ruled out LaVine for an additional three or four weeks and he received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection.
“I’ve been trying to train and do active rehab to get back out there. That didn’t work,” LaVine said. “It had a little bit of a—I don’t want to say setback—but it got more sore to where it didn’t make sense to try to play on it continuously. Rest for a little bit. Get some PRP. Hopefully that will do some good things for it. Continue to promote that healing and check back in a week or two and see where you’re at.”
LaVine added that his absence has “nothing to do” with the trade speculation swirling around him and that he’s been happy to see the team string together some wins without him. He’s hoping that success continues and that he’s able to contribute to it once he returns.
“Am I still a part of this team and very committed? Yeah. I got a Bulls jersey on. I committed here. And for as long as I’ll be here, I’ll still support and love Chicago and go out there and play my heart out for those guys. That’s never going to change,” he said. “There’s going to be different stories and narratives. And there’s going to be off-the-court stuff that’s going to be dealt with. For me, as long as I’m here with a Bulls jersey on, I’m going to play as hard as I can for my teammates and continue to be the best player and teammate I can be. Simple as that.”
Here’s more on the suddenly surging Bulls:
- The Bulls won a fourth consecutive game on Friday night, defeating the Spurs in San Antonio, but Alex Caruso left the game in the fourth quarter due to a left ankle injury and didn’t return, Johnson notes for NBC Sports Chicago. The severity of that injury is to be determined, but Caruso had to be helped to the locker room by the team’s training staff.
- Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic takes a look at some of the young players who are getting more opportunities with LaVine sidelined, including guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu.
- Despite the Bulls’ four-game winning streak since LaVine went down, no one in the locker room is suggesting the team is better without the two-time All-Star, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s hard to replace the talent that Zach has out there on the court with one person,” Caruso said. “We’ve done a good job of playing-by-committee. It’s also a different look when (LaVine’s) not out there compared to when he is, but I’ve played in plenty of games with him now, nearly two-and-a-half years, and when he’s locked in and playing good we’re a really good basketball team.”
- In a separate story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Cowley examines how White has responded to outside criticism – including from Cowley himself – and has continued to make major strides, proving those critics wrong. “I know what you said, others have said,” White told the Sun-Times. “I feel like I’ve got thick skin, but the main thing for me is I wanted to pay attention to it just so I can feel it. Feel it for me, and then to get through it. … You know what, sometimes people on the internet or the media, you guys, you speak the truth. There were times I would look at it and say, ‘I got to get better at this, he’s right. I’ve got to fix this.’ I never tried to shy away from any of it because that’s not my personality. You have to look at it all head on, take it for what it is, not let it define you, but use it.”