The Chicago Bulls will open their season without All-Star Zach LaVine, according to an announcement from the team.
The official cause for LaVine’s absence is listed as “Left knee injury management.”
Zach LaVine (left knee management) is OUT for tonight's season opener in Miami. pic.twitter.com/U6njQJ833h
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 19, 2022
LaVine was initially listed as questionable heading into the season opening game against the Miami Heat.
Now, it looks like LaVine will join the Bulls for the first time this season in the team’s home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
Sources: Zach LaVine may also miss Friday's game vs. Wizards, with likelihood the two-time All-Star makes his season debut in Saturday's home opener vs. Cleveland. https://t.co/YdRRrgua5y
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 19, 2022
The Bulls are looking to build on last season’s refreshing return to the playoffs after four lottery finishes in previous years.
The team will expect LaVine to play a large role in that process after signing the Olympic gold medalist to a $215 million, five-year max contract during the offseason.
LaVine had an arthroscopic (minimally invasive keyhole surgery) procedure on his left knee during the offseason and eased his way back onto the court.
Prior to the team’s injury report release, LaVine was seen participating regularly in practice and spoke to the media about his lack of pain.
The team will also be without standout Lonzo Ball for their season opener and potentially much of this season as his knee continues to be an issue. Alex Caruso (left calf contusion) is listed as “probable” and will likely pick up some extra minutes in LaVine’s absence.
27-year-old LaVine had some thoughts on his latest injury flare up:
“I just want to make sure I’m safe with bringing myself back in and managing it the way it is,” LaVine said. “Just going forward, I want to make sure I’m 100% at the end of the season.”
The Bulls open up the season against the Miami Heat.