The ailment has already kept LaVine out of action since November 28, forcing him to miss the past three games. He has appeared in 18 of Chicago’s 22 games so far, averaging 21.0 points, 4.9 points and 3.4 assists in 35.3 minutes per night.
The latest complications will obviously delay any trade talks involving LaVine, which are reportedly not gaining any traction anyway. Although LaVine is believed to be on board with a potential deal, his pricey contract and history of injuries have severely limited the interest around the league.
The Bulls got off to a terrible start, but have won all three games since LaVine was forced out of the lineup by the foot issue, notes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. He points out that the team has displayed better ball movement and more balanced scoring in LaVine’s absence, posting season highs with 32 assists in wins over Milwaukee and New Orleans and having eight players with at least six points in Wednesday’s victory over Charlotte.
Players had already finished talking to the media when the announcement on LaVine was made, but several of them addressed how things have changed without him, Johnson adds.
“I think it’s given us a lot of confidence. Obviously with Zach out, being the caliber of player he is, it allows for more opportunity. But you can’t replace Zach LaVine,” Coby White said. “We try to do it collectively and try to make up for what he does on the floor.”
LaVine won’t accompany the team to San Antonio for Friday’s game, but he’s expected to speak with reporters on Thursday, according to Johnson, who states that LaVine wasn’t on the bench tonight because he was being evaluated by doctors.
LaVine will miss nine additional games if the injury keeps him sidelined for three more weeks, Johnson adds, and 13 games if he can’t return for four weeks.