Zach LaVine provided an update Tuesday on his pending return from ACL surgery on his left knee. He’s been practicing full-speed for two weeks now, with both the Chicago Bulls and Windy City Bulls.
“Probably just getting used to the speed again (is the toughest part),” LaVine said at the Advocate Center. “I feel good in isolated situations, pick-and-roll. But you can just tell I ain’t been up and down in a while. My conditioning is slow. I get tired quickly. I’ve got to get used to that again.”
LaVine suffered the injury last Feb. 3 while playing for Minnesota. He said his conditioning is a work in progress, but he’s putting in the time.
“I’m probably right in the beginning parts of (training camp),” he said. “I’ve been working my butt off, coming back late working and running. But nothing simulates game conditioning. I’ve been working out for the last eight, nine months and you come in and play 5-on-5 and you’re tired in 3 minutes. Just got to get that down, get my rhythm down. But I’m progressing really fast. And I feel good.”
LaVine is wearing a brace on the left knee. He says that is doctor’s orders and he’s hoping he can take it off by the time he starts playing in games.
Coach Fred Hoiberg gave an updated timetable. He said LaVine will continue on a schedule of practicing every other day for roughly the next two weeks, then they’d like him to practice 10 straight days before suiting up for a game. So it looks like Jan. 1 might be a more realistic return date, though it’s still undetermined.
Mirotic will travel:
Even before Tuesday’s practice, the Bulls decided forward Nikola Mirotic would travel on the upcoming three-day road trip. Mirotic will not play Wednesday in Indiana, but Friday at Charlotte or Saturday at home against New York are possibilities for Mirotic to make his season debut.
“We feel it is beneficial for Niko to go on the trip, whether he plays or not,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “But again, hopefully he has two good days of practice and we can throw him out there for a short stint at least against Charlotte and get the process started.”
Felder to G-League:
The Bulls assigned point guard Kay Felder to the Windy City Bulls with the idea he’ll play in home games on Wednesday and Friday at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates. Felder hasn’t seen much action since Kris Dunn returned from a finger injury.
Zach LaVine will skip the Bulls’ road trip and practice with Windy City. On Tuesday, he was asked about the practices he’s already had with the local G-League franchise.
“They’ve been good, really competitive,” LaVine said. “I appreciate them coming up and helping me, taking time out of their day. They’ve got double days and back-to-backs and they’re coming (to the Advocate Center) to practice with me and Niko (Mirotic), helping him out. I really appreciate them. And they play hard, that’s the best thing.”