Sunday, April 14 2024

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be out four to six months after he undergoes season-ending surgery on his right foot next week. LaVine and his agency, Klutch Sports Group, agreed to the foot procedure after weighing medical options.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan said Saturday that it was LaVine’s decision to have surgery. LaVine had not played since he sprained his right ankle on Jan. 18. Although the sprain had healed, he has been sidelined because of prolonged discomfort in his foot.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Bulls hold 11th-ranked odds in the Eastern Conference to make the playoffs this season. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets.

The same injury forced LaVine to miss 17 games earlier this season. Right ankle inflammation sidelined him during that stretch. He returned on Jan. 5 and played just seven more games before he reinjured the same ankle.

Donovan said at practice Friday that the team had expected LaVine to be out at least another week before he was re-evaluated.

“He made a decision he felt was best for his health,” Donovan said before Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. “I really feel like he did everything he could to try to get himself back to playing.

“The discomfort in his foot was at place where I think he didn’t feel like he had any chance to be himself. That was the really frustrating part of it.”

Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine will miss 4-6 months, scored a career-high 51 points vs. Pistons on Oct. 28

In only 25 games this season, LaVine averaged 19.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 34.9 minutes per game while shooting 45.2% from the floor, 34.9% beyond the arc, and 85.4% at the foul line.

LaVine’s average of 19.5 points on 45.2% shooting is his lowest scoring total since he played 24 games coming off ACL surgery in 2017-18, when he averaged 16.7 points on 38.3% shooting.

This season could have been memorable for LaVine. In Chicago’s 118-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 28, he recorded a career-high 51 points, five rebounds, and one steal in 38 minutes of action.

“He’s kind of been in-and-out, but certainly you’d like to have a player of his caliber available,” Donovan said. “Now with the news coming out we’ll have to play without him. I’ve always said when you lose really good players, it impacts your team.”

LaVine signed a five-year, $215.15 million max contract in July 2022. The two-time All-Star is slated to make $43.03 million next season. His deal also includes a 15% trade bonus and a 2026-27 player option worth $48.96 million.

The Bulls (23-26) entered Saturday in ninth place in the East standings, trailing the Miami Heat (26-23) and Orlando Magic (26-23). Chicago is 13-11 without LaVine this season and 10-15 with him.

After hosting Sacramento on Saturday, the Bulls will go on a four-game road trip at Memphis (Feb. 8), Orlando (Feb. 10), Atlanta (Feb. 12), and Cleveland (Feb. 14).

Source: Basketball Insider

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