Zach LaVine Says He's Ahead of Schedule on Recovery from Knee Surgery

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2017

Zach Lavine answer questions during a news conference at the Chicago Bulls NBA basketball team training facility, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Chicago. Levine was acquired by the Bulls from the Minnesota Timberwolves. (AP Photo/G-Jun Yam)
G-Jun Yam/Associated Press

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine told reporters Wednesday he's ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from a torn ACL, according to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears.

LaVine underwent surgery in February.

The Bulls acquired LaVine on June 22 as part of the trade that sent three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves.                   

The 22-year-old is already getting to know some of his new teammates. The Bulls posted a photo of LaVine in attendance for a Las Vegas Summer League game against the Dallas Mavericks:

Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls

.@ZachLaVine here in Vegas checking out his new squad @NBASummerLeague #BullsNation https://t.co/cKXO3omMMo

In March, the Associated Press' Jon Krawczynski (via NBA.com) reported the Timberwolves had yet to determine a return date for LaVine. 

The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson reported Wednesday the Bulls are going to be extra cautious with the fourth-year guard:

K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop

And the Bulls have heard him say this too and have said, as centerpiece of rebuild, they'll proceed conservatively. https://t.co/1lXk8PQEj7

LaVine was the headliner of the Butler trade from Chicago's perspective. The Bulls also added point guard Kris Dunn and swapped first-round picks with Minnesota, landing Arizona Wildcats forward Lauri Markkanen at No. 7 overall.

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The relative success or failure of the Butler trade will hinge heavily on LaVine's performance. Before tearing his ACL, he was averaging a career-high 18.9 points per game and shooting 38.7 percent from three-point range.

LaVine's otherworldly athleticism—he's a two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion—is a large part of his game, leading some to worry whether the effects of his ACL injury will continue to linger long after he has fully healed. Having witnessed Derrick Rose's decline, Bulls fans are all too aware how much knee injuries can derail a player's career.

The fact LaVine is progressing well in his rehab is good news for Chicago since—as Johnson noted—he'll be one of the faces of the franchise's long-term direction.

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