Whenever the Chicago Bulls season officially comes to an end, the plan is for Zach LaVine to have surgery on his injured left knee.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley, LaVine has played far more injured than his availability might suggest. The plan is now for him to receive a scope over the summer in preparation for next season (bolded emphasis mine).
The source also said the maintenance of the knee the past few months was an all-day ordeal, and that there would have been a good number of All-Star-type players that would have shut it down for the season with all LaVine had to deal with.
And while LaVine wouldn’t come out and say for sure he was headed for off-season surgery — likely a scope — the source said he will in fact have surgery almost immediately this offseason. One scenario that had been ruled out, according to the source, was that the knee was degenerative and LaVine would be dealing with this long-term.
Of course, walking into an offseason surgery at the same time a max contract is on the table could always have an impact on negotiations. However, Cowley does confirm what we’ve been led to believe this season: LaVine’s situation is not one of long-term concern. One would have to imagine the Bulls are/were well aware of this, which is part of the reason why they didn’t encourage LaVine to shut it down sooner than later.
Cowley also went on to write that these max contract discussions between LaVine and the team are expected to continue in good faith, stating that “as of now the two sides seem to be on the same page with the direction of the roster.”
All things considered, it always felt like a minor surgery of sorts could be on the table for LaVine, as the only word we ever got from him or the team was that he would deal with the issue in the offseason. So I don’t think this news is anything to freak out about, but we will have to wait to learn more details about what the surgery will entail and how long LaVine is expected to be sidelined.
More thoughts coming shortly!
Again, I just want to reiterate that this information doesn’t feel even close to panic-mode worthy.
All this report does is suggest that LaVine will likely have surgery sooner than later, and it also implies he has been playing even more banged-up than he’s wanted to make it seem.
Indeed, what did we expect the result to be, especially as we’ve watched him look as hobbled as he has? Rest was not simply going to solve all of his problems, and LaVine never really hid that fact. Back in March, he told reporters openly that he wouldn’t be 100 percent and the midseason work he had done was more of a “Band-Aid.”
Here’s the full quote:
“I’ll deal with it later, LaVine told the Chicago Sun-Time after practice in Miami on Wednesday. “We don’t know what that is going to be and how exactly we’re going to approach it. But it is pretty much like a bandaid. It’s making me feel better for the time being and getting me to a place where I feel comfortable playing and being effective on the court over this last stretch.”
So … yeah … while it’s important to have the confirmation that surgery is coming, it shouldn’t change a lot of what we think about him moving forward. I fully expect the Bulls to still fork him over a max contract, and Cowley suggests as much above. I would also expect him to potentially be ready for the start of next season, which is why he’s eager to get the work done ASAP.