Zach LaVine's management plan back as Bulls' schedule set to slow

LaVine questionable for opener of Raptors' set originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

TORONTO — The left knee management plan remains intact.

Even before Zach LaVine played in his first set of back-to-back games this week, Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan said the decision on LaVine's availability moving forward—at least in this stage of the season—will be made on a case-to-case basis. And thus, LaVine will miss Sunday evening's road game against the Toronto Raptors.

The contest begins another set of back-to-back games, with the Raptors traveling to Chicago for Monday's rare repeat opponent at the United Center.

But this is the last of four sets of back-to-back games the Bulls will have to navigate for awhile. Their next set doesn't arrive until Dec. 10-11.

In fact, the Bulls' schedule lightens up considerably after Monday. They only play four games over the next 11 days. That will be a welcomed relief for a team that had eight of its first 11 games coming in the form of back-to-back sets.

After playing his third game in four nights on Friday in Boston, LaVine said he felt fine physically. But he also addressed questions about his apparent lack of lift and explosion on rim attacks.

"Obviously, I’m not all the way back yet. I feel that. I’m not going to lie. But it’s coming,” LaVine said. “I’m not scared or anything like that. It’s seven games in. I feel fine.”

A lightened schedule load could help him feel even better.

In other injury news, while Derrick Jones Jr. is expected to play after being listed as probable with a sprained thumb, Andre Drummond and Coby White remain concerns. They're out and will miss their fifth and fourth games respectively because of Drummond's left shoulder sprain and White's left quad contusion.

And from the sounds of Donovan, they could be sidelined for a bit.

Regarding Drummond, who suffered his injury and then played through it during the Oct. 28 loss at San Antonio, Donovan reiterated that his MRI is clean.

"But he’s still having difficulty raising his arm over his head. And as a big guy that rebounds like he does, they just want to be cautious of him ever getting yanked back and it turning out to be something more significant," Donovan said. "We don’t think it’s a long, long-term thing. But these things can take a little bit of time to heal.

"The biggest concern we had when he went down was: Did he have a labrum tear? We knew he didn’t dislocate his shoulder, but we were just worried about if he would have needed surgery, it would have been a significantly longer time. So we felt like we got lucky with the sprain. But sometimes based on how that sprain is, it could be a wide range of time. We certainly feel we’ll get him back, but we just don’t know when."

Donovan said White suffered a "pretty significant deep thigh contusion" during the home loss to the 76ers. He warmed up before this week's road game at the Brooklyn Nets but it didn't respond.

"He’s still experiencing quite a bit of pain there, so just trying to get him back and healthy," Donovan said before Friday's game in Boston about White. "I don’t know the timetable for him right now.’’

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