Zach LaVine is out for the Chicago Bulls' Friday night road matchup with the San Antonio Spurs, the team announced pregame.
The reason for LaVine's absence is continued management of his left knee, on which he underwent arthroscopic surgery in the offseason after experiencing lingering soreness down the stretch of the 2021-22 season.
Since a series of rigorous, post-preseason practices caused a flare-up of discomfort in the knee, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has stressed that the team will manage LaVine's work load carefully for the foreseeable future. The two-time All-Star missed the first two games of the regular season before returning for three straight, averaging 23.3 points on 44.4 percent shooting.
But with Friday's game representing the front end of a back-to-back that concludes at home on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers, LaVine resting sense. Back-to-backs, Donovan has repeatedly said, will be the most crucial component of LaVine's schedule to manage. And this layout gives him a two-day respite between Wednesday's Pacers game and Saturday's 76ers game, rather than one between the Pacers and Spurs contests.
Given that LaVine gave a positive report of his physical status after said Pacers game, the expectation is that he will play Saturday against the 76ers.
This is LaVine's third absence of the season, and the second to come on the front end of a back-to-back. The Bulls have two additional back-to-backs in the near future — Nov. 1 and 2 against the Nets (road) and Hornets (home), and Nov. 6 and 7 against the Raptors (first road, second home).
The Bulls enter the game against the Spurs 3-2 on the season, 2-1 with LaVine and 1-1 without him.
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