Zach LaVine out 2-4 Weeks After Ankle Injury Diagnosed as Sprain

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2018

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine brings the ball up court against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen said Wednesday that guard Zach LaVine will miss two to four weeks with an ankle sprain, per Tony Gill of 670 The Score:

This is not the first time the 23-year-old has had to deal with an injury. His 2016-17 season was cut short due to a torn ACL, and his rehab process limited him to just 24 games last season. He also left a preseason game this year because of a right thigh contusion.

On the other hand, he missed just five games total in his first two seasons as a pro.

LaVine showed signs of regaining his old form after returning from the knee injury last season. He averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 27.3 minutes per game, which came during his first year in Chicago. He was traded during the 2017 offseason in the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Between his injury and having to learn a new system, LaVine had a lot on his plate last season—and he still managed to put up solid numbers. In fact, the two-time dunk contest champ landed a four-year, $78 million offer sheet from the Sacramento Kings, an offer sheet the Bulls matched.

Entering this season, now-former Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg expected big things out of the fifth-year guard.

"He has been terrific ever since he's been back," Hoiberg said in September, according to NBC Sports' Mark Strotman. "He had a great summer and got himself back in shape. He is really trying to take the next step. Zach has been awesome."

Hoiberg was fired after a 5-19 start, though—but he wasn't wrong about LaVine. The guard has had a breakout season, averaging 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

Without LaVine, Chicago will have to rely on the likes of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. to lead the way. Cameron Payne, Ryan Arcidiacono, Kris Dunn and Antonio Blakeney will likely split the backcourt minutes in LaVine's absence.

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