Thursday, January 20, 2022

Zach LaVine: Crucial update on knee injuries

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The Chicago Bulls were blown out on their home ground by an elite team for the second straight game on Friday night. The bigger news, however, is the injury update to Zach LaVine’s left knee. The injury came just 3 minutes after the Bulls’ lopsided 138-96 home loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

No one is quite sure when the injury happened, but it appears that it happened on this piece:

On the next floor ride, LaVine fouled Steph Curry to allow him to end the game. He immediately went up the tunnel to the locker room.

The Bulls were just 4 down when LaVine left the game and it seemed like the wheels fell off the wagon when he didn’t return to the game in the second quarter. LaVine left the game with 0 points and did not return. Meanwhile, the Warriors outplayed the Bulls 41-19 in the second period to set up the blow out.

The main question is how bad is LaVine’s injury?

LaVine will have an MRI on Saturday to determine if there is any structural damage to his knee. However, early reports were optimistic.

According to NBC Sports’ KC Johnson, LaVine reportedly exited the arena “in good footing” and “expressed his confidence.”

Bulls coach Billy Donovan says LaVine is not traveling with the team to Boston, where Chicago will face the Celtics.

This is the same knee he tore his cruciate ligament in 2017 while he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here’s the game when LaVine tore his ACL with the Timberwolves.

Believe it or not, LaVine came back into the game and played 6 more minutes after tearing his cruciate ligament.

While LaVine was able to get off the ground under his own power on Friday night, the events of 2017 may have fans a little more concerned about the results of his MRI on Saturday.

A serious injury to LaVine would reduce the Bulls’ chances of participating this season. DeMar DeRozan gets MVP chatter for his stellar season, but the Bulls’ winning season is more about the duo than any of them. Together they average 52 points per game, 10.1 rebounds and 9 assists per game.

Without LaVine, DeRozan just won’t have enough help offensively to propel the Bulls forward.

Even with LaVine okay, there’s a sudden question about the Bulls’ fighting ability after being blown out at home by the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and again by the Warriors on Friday.

The biggest problem is on the defensive end of the floor. The Bulls gave up 138 points to both the Nets and Warriors in those losses. Both the Warriors and Nets shot 56% from the field. The Warriors made 45% from three while Brooklyn sunk 53% of their long-haul attempts.

Did the teams kick the ball well? Yes, but the perimeter defense was horrendous, especially against the pick and roll, which opened up far too many open looks down the touchline after initially giving up dribbling breakthrough. The absence of Alex Caruso plays a big defensive role in the dent. Getting him back sometime next week should help, but there are deeper issues.

Chicago needs to pray that LaVine’s injury isn’t serious, and then they need to work on improving their defense.

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Did the teams kick the ball well? Yes, but the perimeter defense was horrendous, especially against the pick and roll, which opened up far too many open looks down the touchline after initially giving up dribbling breakthrough. The absence of Alex Caruso plays a big defensive role in the dent. Getting him back sometime next week should help, but there are deeper issues.

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