Bulls optimistic as Zach LaVine heads for MRI for knee injury

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  • Chicago Bulls
    Chicago Bulls
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  • Golden State Warriors
    Golden State Warriors
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  • Zach LaVine
    Zach LaVine
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Bulls optimistic as LaVine heads for MRI on knee injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Zach LaVine left the United Center walking with no noticeable limp and expressing confidence to others that the left knee injury that knocked him out of Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors isn't serious, sources told NBC Sports Chicago.

LaVine will undergo an MRI exam for further diagnosis on Saturday and didn't travel with the team as it left to begin a two-game trip in Boston, according to Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan. LaVine had told some people he may try to push the exam to late Friday night, a source said.

LaVine tore the ACL in the same knee while playing for the Timberwolves in February 2017, but there is widespread confidence throughout the organization that LaVine has dodged serious injury.

LaVine quietly had been playing through some minor swelling in that knee, a source said. When he experienced discomfort during the first quarter after grabbing an offensive rebound, it pushed him over the edge.

LaVine committed an intentional foul and exited straight to the locker room with 8 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first quarter. He walked under his own power alongside assistant athletic trainer Arnold Lee.

"He's got some discomfort there and they want to take a look," Donovan said.

DeMar DeRozan, who also was processing back-to-back blowout home losses to the Nets and Warriors, said he planned to call LaVine as soon as he got to the team plane.

"Nobody is going to come save the day," DeRozan said. "It's on us to step up. These two games should be all the motivation that we need to step up, play hard, play for one another. [Losing LaVine] is just another challenge we gotta face."

Donovan said the shorthanded nature of the Bulls, which will continue for at least Saturday's game in Boston, shouldn't affect the ability to compete hard.

"When Zach went out, the rotations are totally out of whack. You're staggering he and DeMar. Then you're trying to figure out how do you now stagger Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) and DeMar because you want to keep one of those guys on the floor," Donovan said. "But there's enough for us to compete better than we did. We have to build habits as a team on the things that we can control---transition defense, communication, blocking out, pulling across, taking care of the ball. Those are things that  have nothing to do with injuries and people being out."

Donovan did say it falls on him and his staff to help the group during this period. He admitted they may have to tweak some defensive coverages and responsibilities because of the different rotations and roles.

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