Chicago Bulls star Zach Lavine has decided to sit out the rest of the NBA season after undergoing foot surgery, which will have a huge impact on his future in the league
NBA star Zach Lavine, who plays for the Chicago Bulls, will be out for the rest of the season due to foot surgery, with the decision ending any trade talks involving him before Thursday’s deadline.
The 28-year-old has been off the court since he sprained his right ankle on Jan. 18. Despite trying his best to recover and return to the game, he decided to have the operation after getting more medical advice. Head coach Billy Donovan said that although the sprain had healed, the two-time All-Star was still feeling some additional pain in his foot. “He made a decision he felt was best for his health,” Donovan said before Saturday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings.
“I really feel like he did everything he could to try to get himself back to playing. The discomfort in his foot was at a place where I think he didn’t feel like he had any chance to be himself. That was the really frustrating part of it.” Lavine was one of the top names mentioned before Thursday’s trade deadline. However, coach Donovan hadn’t discussed with the Bulls’ management team about how his injury would affect the whole team.
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With star player LaVine now sidelined, it seems unlikely that the Bulls will make a trade deal this month. The speculation was mainly around him, but with LaVine out until next season, the pressure is on for the Bulls to make a move before the trade deadline.
Bringing in reinforcements could lighten the load on Demar DeRozan and Coby White, who have played more minutes than anyone else this season. “I also think it’s about the right guys,” said coach Donovan. “People you feel will help and mentally-wise as well. There are some flexibility with some of the guys we have, but it does put some duress on those guys.”
LaVine’s decision to have surgery might be due to his earlier right ankle inflammation this season, which caused him to miss 17 games. He returned to play seven games after a win over the Charlotte Hornets on January 5, only to suffer another ankle injury.
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After playing just 25 games this season, 23 from the start, his season has now come to an end. The shooting guard averaged 19.5 points on 45.2% shooting, his lowest since the 24 games he played in the 2017-18 season after returning from ACL surgery.
The Bulls, currently sitting ninth in the Western Conference, have suffered 15 losses out of 25 games played without Lavine. The star player signed a whopping five-year, £215 million max contract in July 2022 but has been out for double-digit games in three of the last four seasons due to injuries.
Coach Donavan expressed his worry about being without one of his key players for an extended period, saying: “He’s kind of been in-and-out, but certainly you’d like to have a player of his caliber available. Now with the news coming out, we’ll have to play without him. I’ve always said when you lose really good players, it impacts your team.”