LaVine and Caruso Sit Out of Practice, But Both Are in Line to Play on Tuesday

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LaVine and Caruso Sit Out of Practice, But Both Are in Line to Play on Tuesday

Chicago Bulls

As the Chicago Bulls practiced ahead of a back-to-back set that starts Tuesday night against Milwaukee, Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso remained on the sideline.

Caruso was held out due to a sore back, while LaVine sat due to his lingering knee issue. Fortunately, both appear to remain in line to suit up for the team’s last matchup with the Bucks this regular season.

LaVine taking a seat is nothing new. Dealing with a sore knee since before the All-Star break, the coaching staff has kept a close eye on the All-Star’s activity. In fact, we should expect him to enter Wednesday night’s contest against the Boston Celtics with a “questionable” designation, as the team has continued to list him as such on the backend of a back-to-back.

As for Caruso, while he made clear to reporters that he expects to play in tomorrow’s game, this adds another layer to his recent injury trouble. Between trying to shake off the rust and then picking up this back injury, Caruso has struggled to look 100 percent since he returned to the Bulls lineup on March 12th. The team has also been forced to only ask more of him in recent weeks, even inserting him into the starting lineup.

Head coach Billy Donovan spoke on the injury after the team’s loss to Miami this weekend, speaking candidly about where Caruso stands.

“It’s just a problem,” Donovan told the media. “He and I are communicating. It’s a problem. It’s nothing long-term, he’s got to get there. He’s dealing with some spasms. In the 3rd, he came to me and asked to come out, that he just couldn’t go. I put him back in a little bit later. He’s hobbled.

He’s going to give it everything he has, but I’m trying to manage it, to be quite honest, under 28 minutes, if I can.”

Donovan went on to say any conversations about resting games will be between Caruso and the medical staff. He also assured everyone that the guard is at no risk of further injury if he does continue to play, which is what Caruso wants.

At the end of the day, he makes enough of an impact on the defensive end where it remains better than nothing to have him on the floor. But one also has to imagine the training staff is eager to get him extra rest before the playoffs begin, which could make winning one of these next two games against the Bucks and Celtics even more important.

Not only would a win clinch the team’s first playoff series since the 2016-17 season, but the sooner this team does that, the sooner they can consider taking games off. The Bulls may not care about which seed (No. 5 or 6) they land in with home-court advantage almost out the window. And, if that’s the case, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Caruso and LaVine get a game or two off to finish out this week.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.