Waiting for Zach LaVine and Other Bulls Bullets

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Waiting for Zach LaVine and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Days without Zach LaVine: 11

•   When the ball tips at the American Airlines Arena tonight, it will be Zach LaVine’s 7th game missed due to the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols. When we first learned of LaVine’s situation back on April 15th, there was a hope that the All-Star guard could return to the lineup as soon as eight games later due to the league’s 10-14 day quarantine rule. However, as the days go by, this estimate has started to feel less and less likely. Head coach Billy Donovan said before the game on Saturday night that LaVine has not yet returned to the Advocate Center to begin workouts/conditioning. While it’s early in the week and still very possible LaVine can return sometime soon, it’s a bit hard to imagine he will be completely good to go by Friday or Saturday’s matchup.

“There working with medical. I think there’s some things he’s going to have to continually go through,” head coach Billy Donovan told reporters on Saturday. “I think as I mentioned, he’s going to be out for this trip. He’s not even traveling with us, so he’s back in Chicago. But outside of that, I really don’t have a lot of information because I think a lot of this is the league and how they view all this stuff [and] what their protocols are. Zach will probably have to go through some checkpoints dealing with all of this, but in terms of the timeline, I don’t have one.”

•   I don’t think Donovan is playing coy. It’s merely a fact that most of the things that surround LaVine’s return are out of his control. Not only does the guard need to register two negative tests before he is allowed to rejoin team activities, but the medical staff most likely has to run a number of tests to make sure he can safely resume on-court activity. Not to mention, just sitting 11+ days on the couch can put a player in a hole athletically.

•   In the meantime, the Bulls still have one pinky on a play-in berth. The team currently sits tied with the Raptors 2.0 games back of the 10th seed. Fortunately, they hold the tiebreaker over both the Raptors and Wizards if they end up alongside either one in that final postseason spot. Unfortunately, it is becoming harder and harder to stay aligned with Washington. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook have got their team on an eight-game win streak, which is the franchise’s longest in eight years. The Wizards have only the 16th-toughest schedule remaining, and that means their luck could very well continue over these final weeks.

•   This week starts with a Miami Heat rematch … yippie. 

•   The Bulls put up a strong second-half showing against this Heat team on Saturday night, but the chances at stealing a victory this time around will become that much harder if Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic return to the floor. The only way they will be able to stay in this one tonight is with a MUCH better start from the floor. The team opening the game scoring just 18 points with 5 turnovers in the first quarter, while the Heat posted 33 points with five makes from downtown.

•   HBD, BILLY!

•   Might have to straight-up drink this during tonight’s Bulls game for good luck.



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is a writer for Bleacher Nation and a human being. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.