24 Jan

Bulls star out at least 1-2 weeks with right ankle sprain, per report

Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine will miss at least one-to-two weeks with a right ankle sprain, according to Shams Charania. LaVine, who had only recently returned from a five-week absence with a right foot injury, was hurt during the team’s win over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.

Early in the third quarter, LaVine was driving to the basket when he stepped on the foot of Raptors big man Jontay Porter Jr. and rolled his ankle. He hobbled off the floor and threw a towel in frustration as he made his way back to the locker room immediately. He later returned to action but was not moving well and only played seven minutes in the second half.

Zach Lavine is heading to the locker room after twisting his ankle 😬 pic.twitter.com/E2vNDpL3Ph

— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) January 19, 2024
This was LaVine’s seventh game back after his long-term absence earlier in the season. In late November, he left the team’s loss to the Boston Celtics with what the team termed “right foot inflammation.” His spell on the sidelines spurred a turnaround, as the team went 10-7 without him, which only made it more likely that both sides would look for a potential trade.

Though LaVine should be back on the court prior to the Feb. 8 trade deadline, this latest injury figures to lessen what was already rather meager interest in the two-time All-Star. There just aren’t that many teams interested in acquiring LaVine due to his massive contract — he’s in the second year of a five-year, $215M deal — and poor play this season. And those that do want him may require the Bulls to attach assets to get the deal done, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

Still, the Bulls’ front office is expected to keep exploring a deal as long as possible. Here’s what Brian Windhorst of ESPN had to say on the matter earlier this month: “If they could trade Zach LaVine in the next five minutes they would trade him and Zach would happily go to the airport. I don’t think anything has changed there, I think they absolutely want to trade him.”

In the meantime, the Bulls should be OK until he returns to the court, especially with their upcoming schedule. Over the next few weeks, they’ll play the severely shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Charlotte Hornets, and have just one game against a team with a winning record.

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