Zach is coming back.
Addressing the media this morning, Chicago Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson confirmed that Zach LaVine will play against Detroit on Saturday but will initially be on a 20 minute per game minutes restriction (head coach Fred Hoiberg said that restriction could be raised after three games). LaVine’s restrictions also include not playing on the second night of back-to-backs on before the All-Star Break, which is only one game (Feb. 10).
LaVine missed 11 months after tearing his left ACL in a game last February.
The Bulls haven’t decided if LaVine will start or come off the bench once he returns. If he starts, he’d presumably knock either Justin Holiday or Denzel Valentine out of the starting lineup. It doesn’t really matter to LaVine though.
LaVine says he knows he’s a starter, but has no preference as to whether he starts or comes off the bench when he returns initially. All about getting the reps in.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) January 9, 2018
Over at The Athletic, friend of this site Stephen Noh detailed how LaVine’s return would impact the Bulls in the win-loss column. Read it here.
At least so far, the PR surrounding LaVine’s return is going infinitely better than they did six years ago with Derrick Rose. LaVine said in his interview today that he was trying to convince people that he was ready to play two months ago, but the Bulls were understandably cautious.
LaVine’s debut on Saturday will coincide with Zach LaVine bobblehead night at the United Center.