The Zach LaVine show is coming soon, but when?

SHARE The Zach LaVine show is coming soon, but when?
SHARE The Zach LaVine show is coming soon, but when?

Guard Kris Dunn practiced with his injured left index finger Monday.

Forward Nikola Mirotic, still dealing with concussion symptoms and two broken bones in his face after being punched last week by teammate Bobby Portis, made an appearance over the weekend at the Advocate Center.

Slowly but surely, the undermanned Bulls are healing.

But the most important piece in the Bulls’ rebuild always has been guard Zach LaVine, who is rehabbing from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

For a team that has had more dark clouds than positivity hanging over it recently, LaVine offered some good news before practice Monday.

‘‘I should be doing contact really soon,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘It all depends on [the Bulls’ decision-makers]. I’m pushing them as hard as I can, but we’ve still gotta be careful.

‘‘I feel great. I’m doing everything I was doing before. I’m pretty sure I can do contact, but we’ve got to stick to that schedule. But every day I’m just getting back, trying to be as close to 100 percent as I can before I come back.’’

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Waiting hasn’t been easy for LaVine, especially as he has watched the short-handed Bulls get off to an 0-2 start.

‘‘Yeah, it’s definitely hard,’’ LaVine said of trying to remain patient. ‘‘I don’t like missing games. Before the injury, I didn’t really miss any games. I think I missed one or two in my career, so it really sucks just sitting there, not being able to help. I try to help as much as I can from the sideline. You know, give a little advice here and there, but it hurts. You want to be out there, fighting with your guys, and that day will come soon.’’

The initial recovery time for LaVine after he had the surgery in February was nine months. The Bulls aren’t about to try to speed up that schedule, either. Not with all the problems they had with Derrick Rose after his ACL surgery and definitely not in a season in which losing games isn’t a bad thing if it means landing a top-three pick in the 2018 draft.

That puts LaVine’s return date somewhere between mid-November and early December.

‘‘That’s what I’m hearing,’’ LaVine said. ‘‘I think we’ll re-evaluate when we get close to that date. I’m pushing as much as possible because I want to go play with my guys. When that day comes and I’m able to get on the floor, it’ll be a good day for everybody.’’

That includes coach Fred Hoiberg.

‘‘Well, he’s got a skill set that you can do a lot with, starting with his athleticism,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘He’s the fastest guy on our team [and] one of the fastest guys in the league. His explosiveness, he’s already gotten that back. And his ability to shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor puts another shooter, floor-spacer out there that you can do a lot with.

‘‘So, yeah, to answer your question, he does make our team a lot better.’’

Eventually.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com


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