Zach LaVine will not return before the NBA trade deadline, meaning injured Bulls guard will miss at least 3 more games

CHICAGO — Zach LaVine will not return for the Chicago Bulls before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Coach Billy Donovan said Friday that the star guard will need at least another week of rest before he is reevaluated by the team’s medical staff, meaning LaVine will miss at least three more games.

LaVine has been sidelined since Jan. 18, when he suffered an ankle sprain against the Toronto Raptors, but Donovan said the ankle has healed. The injury currently sidelining the maximum-contract star is swelling and discomfort in his right foot that caused the initial 17-game absence.

“He’s still got inflammation there, it’s still causing problems,” Donovan said. “So it’ll be more time.”

LaVine has missed 22 of 49 games (45%) this season with foot and ankle injuries. The Bulls went 5-14 before his initial foot injury, then improved 10-7 while he was sidelined. They went 5-2 when LaVine returned for seven games and are 3-3 over the last six games without him.

Donovan said the medical staff has not informed him if this could be a longer-term injury for LaVine.

“It’s hard for me to speculate,” Donovan said. “When I get the update from the medical, I’m not really asking like, ‘Hey, how long?’ They just tell me his foot’s inflamed, it’s going to be another week evaluated again and I just kind of move on from there.”

But it’s clear that LaVine will not return before the trade deadline — which could mean he has played his last game in a Bulls uniform.

The Bulls have been scoping out trade options for LaVine since November, a mostly fruitless exercise as the team struggles to find partners interested solely in LaVine.

NBC Sports Chicago reported this week that the Bulls might need to offer additional assets to move LaVine as initial reports of interest from teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers have dried up in recent weeks.

If the Bulls don’t move LaVine, they could stand pat for a third consecutive year at the trade deadline — a rarity for most teams in the league.