CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago star Zach LaVine missed the Bulls' game Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers because of lingering soreness in his left knee while guard Alex Caruso returned from a broken right wrist, giving the defense a big boost.
Lavine missed the final three games prior to the All-Star break. The high-flying guard had platelet-rich plasma therapy, a cortisone injection and fluid drained in Los Angeles, hoping the treatment will help him get through the remainder of the season.
The Bulls knew they'd have to manage the situation the rest of the way and that LaVine might miss some games. The fact that the two-time All-Star wasn't able to play even though they had two days off after winning at Detroit on Wednesday to stop a five-game losing streak did not seem to raise extra alarms for coach Billy Donovan.
“Everything I've gotten from the doctors is they feel totally comfortable with him playing,” he said. “There's obviously a team of doctors that are involved in this. One of the doctors that's involved is a guy that handled his ACL surgery several years ago. ... I think that everybody feels very, very comfortable that him playing is OK, and it's not necessarily him regressing. It's just something that he's gonna have to manage and deal with throughout the course of the season."
LaVine, who was traded from Minnesota to Chicago in June 2017, had his final season with the Timberwolves cut short because of a torn ACL in the same knee. It was repaired by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2017. His status for Monday’s game at Sacramento was not clear.
Caruso, one of Chicago's best perimeter defenders, had not played since Jan. 21. He was knocked to the floor on a hard foul by Grayson Allen while driving to the basket during a game at Milwaukee, resulting in an injury that required surgery and caused him to miss 22 games. Allen was suspended one game by the NBA.
Injuries, including a sprained left foot, and COVID-19 had limited Caruso to 28 games prior to the matchup with Cleveland. He was averaging 8.4 points in his first season with the Bulls after spending his first four years with the Los Angeles Lakers.