Bulls’ Zach LaVine Nears Return After Full Practice, Eyes Game vs. Hornets

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, Billy Donovan, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

Zach LaVine participated in his first practice with contact at the Advocate Center on Monday with the Windy City Bulls, a significant step in his recovery from right foot inflammation that has kept him out since November 29. This marks the NBA star’s final step before a possible comeback, potentially as soon as the upcoming home game against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, provided there are no setbacks.

The main Bulls squad had an earlier practice at the Advocate Center on Monday before heading to Philadelphia for a two-game series, starting with the 76ers on Tuesday and followed by a game against the Knicks in New York on Wednesday.

This schedule leaves the Windy City Bulls without a game until Friday, offering LaVine several chances to engage in contact practices and assess his recovery.

The Bulls have managed a 10-5 record in LaVine’s absence. Both Donovan and LaVine’s teammates insist that this improved record is coincidental, expressing confidence that the team’s performance can continue to improve upon LaVine’s return. LaVine, addressing the media on December 7 regarding his injury, dismissed any connection between his condition and off-court speculations about his future.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets Updates

LaVine clarified the severity of his foot inflammation, emphasizing the importance of addressing it promptly to avoid further complications and to aid in his goal of finishing the season strongly. He also addressed the rumors, reiterating his commitment to playing his best for Chicago.

“It’s the lateral side of my right foot that’s a little inflamed — not even a little bit, it’s pretty inflamed — and it bugs you. It’s a bony, prominent area where you really don’t want to start messing around with that fifth metatarsal area. It gets more irritated,” LaVine said. “It’s just smart to calm it down now to where I can get back to 100 percent and hopefully finish this season strong and help everybody out there.

“I think it’s funny (this is tied to off-court speculation). For everybody that knows me, I try to play through everything,” LaVine explained. “This has nothing to do with anything off the court and everything off the court is still very much speculation. It’s funny to me to see all the narratives that people run with. I deal with it internally. It is what it is. I go out there and put my heart on for Chicago whenever I put that jersey on. When I get back out there, I’ll continue to do that.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets Updates

Meanwhile, the Bulls management and LaVine’s agents maintain a professional relationship as they navigate his openness to playing elsewhere. This stance emerged after the Bulls engaged in exploratory trade talks involving LaVine last offseason. However, there has been limited market interest in LaVine, who had a challenging start to the season, personally and with the Bulls’ early record.

LaVine’s current season averages of 21 points on 44.3 percent shooting, including 33.6 percent from beyond the arc, are notably below his All-Star level performances in recent seasons.

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