By Richard Kagan
Chicago Bulls G Zach LaVine is working hard behind the scenes to get ready to play. He suffered an ACL injury last season. He is nearing a return to play and is targeting a November practice for full contact in a few weeks.
He averaged 18.9 points for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Bulls are looking forward to seeing him on the court. LaVine recently spoke to Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago and said he is looking forward to helping the Bulls. He sees what is happening on the court and knows he can make a contribution to the team. He said he wants to play but is sticking to the medical timeline which puts him able to practice around mid-November. His return to actual games would be determined by how his knee responds and what kind of game shape he may be in.
“I should be doing contact really soon. It all depends on them,” LaVine said. “I’m pushing them as hard as I can. But at the end of the day, we’ve still got to be careful.
It is certain that he can help the Bulls. They only scored 77 points on 38% shooting versus the San Antonio Spurs. The defense and no Kawhi Leonard kept them in the game.
Lauri Markkanen defended Pau Gasol, and switched to LaMarcus Aldridge at other times.
LaVine is practicing with coaches, getting prepared for a full team practice. He said he thought when the Bulls were on, they could beat some teams, but when they are missing shots, it could be a long game. It’s like that with other teams, except other teams have more depth than the Bulls.
Bobby Portis has reached out to Niko Mirotic about the fracas they had on the court in practice that resulted in a concussion and two facial fractures for the penciled-in starting power forward. Mirotic is expected to be out for 4 to 6 weeks. Portis, a key reserve, returns in about 2-3 weeks, after the Bulls have played six more games.
A few years ago Bulls executive Gar Forman talked about the team “getting younger.” Then it went out and signed Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, who fell into their lap. Rondo, Wade, and Jimmy Butler are gone, and the rebuild is officially on.
One hopes that everyone can get on the court so we can see what the Bulls really have talent-wise.