Bulls guard Zach LaVine could be shut down for the rest of the season
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It’s still not a full-blown Zach LaVine shutdown; it’s more of a wait-and-see situation.
The Bulls announced Wednesday that LaVine will be kept out of games for the next five to seven days because of tendinitis in his left knee. He will be evaluated again, and if he feels better, he could get some more games under his belt.
If there’s no improvement in his surgically repaired knee, then his 20-point showing in the victory in Memphis last week will be his last hurrah of the 2017-18 season.
“Just nursing it right now, trying to get it back feeling 100 percent,’’ LaVine said when he met with the media. “Going forward, just making sure it feels 100 percent good before I get back out there and test it. I don’t want to hurt myself or the team. That’s the main thing.’’
LaVine, however, insisted that he wanted to get back out there before the regular season ended, at least to feel good about developing a consistent rhythm going into the summer workouts.
“Still just getting my feet wet, man,’’ LaVine said when asked about shutting it down for the season.
“I mean,  games [played], so there’s still some games to go out there to get in a rhythm before getting into the offseason and working out.’’
That might not be the case any longer.
If he has played his last game of the season, LaVine at least will have given the Bulls a good-enough sample size of his athleticism, averaging 16.7 points and 3.9 rebounds. He was shooting career lows from the field (38 percent) and from three-point range (34 percent), but considering he was sidelined for almost a year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament, the rust was expected.
As far as the Bulls’ other key injuries, point guard Kris Dunn was still sidelined with turf toe, but he had high hopes for a return sooner rather than later.
Rookie forward Lauri Markkanen (back) made it through practice Tuesday relatively pain-free, and coach Fred Hoiberg said he’s improving.
“Lauri is doing quite a bit better,’’ Hoiberg said. “He got a really good conditioning session in [Wednesday]. It’s the best he’s felt since he’s been out with the back issue.
‘‘Hopefully, we’ll get him a good contact practice [Thursday], and then we’ll go from there.’’
The Bulls have a back-to-back this weekend, and Hoiberg said if Markkanen is back in time, he’d play in only one of the games.
NOTE: Robin Lopez was inactive against the Nuggets and has only played in four games since All-Star Weekend.
The Bulls won two of the games he played in, beating the Grizzlies and Hawks. In those four games, Lopez averaged 7.5 points in 12 minutes.
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