Bulls should absolutely let Zach LaVine’s knee heal up

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

There are multiple injuries that the Chicago Bulls will still be dealing with coming out of the All-Star Break. The Bulls were one of the more injured teams around the NBA since the turn of the calendar year. And one important player to watch in terms of his injury situation, in particular, is the two-time All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine.

LaVine missed each of the last three games prior to the All-Star Break due to a left knee injury, and five of the last eight. It looked like he was struggling through some pain in his knee in the three games he did play in that span of eight leading up to All-Star Weekend.

And while it led to some controversy that LaVine decided to participate in the 3-Point Shootout and All-Star Game last weekend, that was his decision to make. LaVine kept reassuring the media and fans that he was feeling good in the week leading up to the All-Star Game. And it is true that he showed less discomfort playing in the All-Star Game that he did in the few games he did play in for the Bulls in the last few weeks.

LaVine probably got to heal up a bit during the All-Star Break, even if he did play in the All-Star Game on Feb. 20. But load management will still be a pertinent part of the injury conversation for LaVine down the stretch this season. This knee injury seems to be a nagging issue for LaVine over the course of the last few months.

Chicago Bulls must properly manage Zach LaVine’s knee injury post-All-Star Break

The most important time where the Bulls will need LaVine is in the postseason. That’s why it’s crucial for the organization to manage this situation well down the stretch during the regular season.

A piece from the Chicago Tribune this week detailing the outlook for the Bulls post-All-Star Break mentioned how LaVine doesn’t feel like he will be “playing at 100 percent” down the stretch as he deals with this knee issue. That is a bit of a scary proposition that LaVine doesn’t think he will be playing at 100 percent at any point of the stretch run of this season.

For that reason exactly, it would be smart for the Bulls to rest LaVine whenever possible. That will really be the case once they get the likes of guards Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball back in the rotation sometime likely in the next month or so.

This Chicago Tribune piece also notes how second-year head coach Billy Donovan has already brought up the plan to rest LaVine in each of the remaining sets of back-to-back games for the Bulls this season. The Bulls have four sets of back-to-back games remaining on the regular season schedule.

The Bulls proved to be able to make it through some important stretches of games without LaVine heading into the All-Star Break. If that is the case again post-All-Star Break, that would go a long way to getting him as close to 100 percent as they possibly can come postseason time.

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In their first game post-All-Star Break, LaVine and the Bulls are set to take on the Atlanta Hawks at home at the United Center on Feb. 24. The Bulls will carry a record of 38-21 and a five-game winning streak into that meeting with the Hawks.