The Chicago Bulls’ first pre-game injury report of the season has come with an unfortunate surprise.
According to the NBA’s Official listings, Zach LaVine is currently labeled as “questionable” for tomorrow’s season opener. The Bulls have given him a “left knee: injury management” designation.
The news comes after LaVine appeared in three of the four preseason games. As far as we know, he’s also been a full participant at training camp.
While my best guess is that he suits up in what will be a tough first matchup for the Bulls, there is no question this is somewhat concerning and head-scratching news. The last thing this team needs is for their new max player to have any additional concerns about the knee he received surgery on earlier this offseason. Having said that, this notion could also be exactly why they are taking the precautionary approach to the start of LaVine’s season.
Indeed, LaVine might feel back to 100 percent, but the training staff wants to monitor his situation closely as he returns to having a full workload. I could very much see a world where they leave LaVine listed as “questionable” or “probable” over the first couple of weeks of the season as they ensure that he responds well to more vigorous play. After all, LaVine reportedly didn’t participate in true five-on-five action until training camp got underway. So while he may not currently be experiencing any issues, the goal might be to ramp him up gradually to guarantee things stay that way.
I’m sure LaVine’s status will be the first question Billy Donovan is asked a couple of hours before game time tomorrow, so we’ll keep you updated. As of now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this is nothing more than a team being extra careful with their max player.
PS: Alex Caruso also appeared on the injury report, but he is listed as “probable” with a calf contusion.