Zach LaVine first injured his ankle in the Bulls’ disappointing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then, he decided to rub some dirt on it and play in the team’s next game against the San Antonio Spurs. He may not have looked like a player on a banged-up ankle for the entire game, but his stats said otherwise. The All-Star finished with just 18 points, and he saw just 11 minutes of action in the second half. Fast forward two nights later, and it was a very similar story … except this time around LaVine looked the part of an injured player from beginning to end.
When the final buzzer sounded he only had 12 points to his name on a 4-16 shooting performance from the field (1-7 from 3). The ankle had clearly been messing with his rhythm and shot-making, and the question now becomes whether or not LaVine will miss his first contest of the season on Wednesday night.
After the game, LaVine told reporters that he re-aggravated the ankle injury and that he was going to speak with the training staff about some possible extra rest.
Zach LaVine said he rolled and reaggravated his sprained ankle tonight vs. Warriors.
On potentially taking rest day(s): "It's a decision I'm going to have to make coming up." Said he feels he's back to square one. Will communicate with training staff.
"It just sucks."
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) March 30, 2021
Zach LaVine says he needs to seriously consider sitting a game out to get his sprained ankle healthier. He'll talk to training staff and know more in next couple of days.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 30, 2021
LaVine was first adamant about his willingness to play on the injury after the Spurs game, and he said the only way he would look to sit out is if he became a “detriment to the team.” Well, LaVine now appears willing to take a game off, so I guess we know what point we’ve reached.
LaVine quote continued: "If I feel like I’m a detriment to the team and I’m hurting, I’ll sit out. But I can play through pain. That’s one thing, as long as they clear me and they say I’m OK to play, I’m going to go out there and try to do what I do.”
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) March 28, 2021
LaVine has never been one to make excuses, and his desire to win has grown increasingly evident over the past season. However, playing through injuries can oftentimes be counterproductive, and the last thing Bulls fans want is to see LaVine face an extended absence or continue to underachieve.
The team has a brutal stretch coming up against the Suns, Jazz, and Nets, so I can understand LaVine’s frustration with the timing of the injury (not to mention, the organization just gave him a bunch of new toys). With that said, the best chance of truly keeping the playoff hopes alive is by getting fully healthy as soon as possible, so I hope LaVine and the training staff do whatever it takes to make that happen.