Zach LaVine Could Return Towards the Beginning of the Season
Gravity-defying dunks courtesy of hyper-athletic guard Zach LaVine could be returning to an NBA basketball court near you a lot sooner than previously expected.
LaVine tore the ACL in his left knee in early February. When the Minnesota Timberwolves traded him to the rebuilding Bulls on draft night, the prevailing thought was that the Bulls would exercise caution in terms of how they handled easing LaVine through each step of the recovery process. Per 670 The Score sports editor Cody Westerlund.
“Any time you have something like this, you’re going to follow doctors’ advice and the rehab thing. I think we would, in this type of thing, we’d err on the side of being cautious with him. We want him to come back healthy and ready to play. So the standard by which we determine the workload he gets by playing again, we’ll be cautious. -Chicago Bulls President of Basketball Operations John Paxson
However, the Bulls may have changed this approach. Per Westerlund again.
At the ESPY’s in mid-July, LaVine told reporters that he was ahead of schedule in terms of his injury rehabilitation and that he hoped to be ready to roll by training camp in September.
ACL injuries generally take about nine months to recover from meaning the Bulls could bring back LaVine in early November without raising too many eyebrows. This timetable jives with Hoiberg’s prediction that LaVine will return shortly after the start of the season.
If LaVine’s return is indeed imminent, it would have both positive and negative implications for the Bulls. On the positive side, LaVine’s early return gives the Bulls front office a larger body of work from which they can evaluate whether extending him to a long-term contract is in the best interests of the team. However, returning too early makes LaVine vulnerable to poor play and losing confidence or even reinjuring himself.
The Bulls have to tread carefully through this situation and erring on the side of caution seems like the best-bet approach.