Bulls guard Zach LaVine might have to sit out All-Star Weekend
LaVine was scheduled to have a meeting with the Bulls’ medical staff and his specialist in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Then he’d have a plan of action in dealing with the ongoing discomfort in his left knee.
Zach LaVine, selected as an All-Star for a second consecutive year, might have to skip the festivities this time around.
The Bulls guard was scheduled to meet Tuesday with a specialist in Los Angeles to determine his immediate path in dealing with discomfort in his left knee, coach Billy Donovan said.
That could include sitting out All-Star Weekend, when he’s supposed to compete in the Three-Point Contest in addition to playing in Sunday’s game as a member of captain Kevin Durant’s team.
“I have not spoken to him about [All-Star Weekend],” Donovan said Monday. “I think all those issues before the All-Star Game, doctors will have spoken to him about all that stuff, and then decisions will be made. But I’m not sure what they’ll come to. Right now, we’re just going from the step of him just going out to L.A. to get looked at, and once these doctors talk, they’ll advise him on what they think is the best course of action after the meeting.”
The Bulls won’t use LaVine in games until at least after the break after already deciding last week they would limit his play in back-to-backs. The nice thing is there are no back-to-backs on the schedule until March 3-4, when the Bulls face the Hawks in Atlanta, then host the Bucks the next night.
Before LaVine left for California, he expressed to the team he was still hoping to participate in All-Star festivities in Cleveland.
“I’ll have a much better feel when I talk to our medical people,” Donovan said. “They’ll be there with the people in L.A., but I don’t know how much more we’ll know or not know or what the process will be as far as treatment and care.”
Asked about LaVine’s play style — specifically his penchant for dunking — possibly changing in the short term if he returns quickly, Donovan didn’t see that happening.
“No one is telling him, ‘Hey, if you can go in for a layup, go in for a layup,’ ” Donovan said. “That’s definitely not being said to him. When a player is out there, you certainly want him to play.”
Gutting it out
Derrick Jones Jr., whose fractured finger is splinted and not expected to be healed for another few weeks, has been playing in obvious pain since returning for the Bulls’ home win over the Thunder on Saturday. But the versatile wing knows the Bulls have been short-handed, so it’s all hands on deck.
“I’m just gonna get through it,” Jones said. “Personally, I love to compete, and me being out since Jan. 12 has been eating me alive on the inside. I was just waiting for this pain to die down a little bit so I could hop back out there. Soon as it went away a little bit, I was right back out there.”
Remembering the Alamo
Asked recently why he seems to be improving with age, 32-year-old All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan pointed to his time with the Spurs before joining the Bulls.
“My three years in San Antonio, I kind of took a back seat from scoring so much,” he said. “I [opened] up other parts of my game and [understood], but in the back of my mind, I always, at heart, knew I was a scorer. That was my mentality first and foremost. I didn’t give it a chance to really just let it out like I wanted to in San Antonio because there were other parts of my game I started to grow at.”