LaVine reveals thumb sprain, intends to play through it

"I don't want to say it's severe, but it's more than mild." Billy Donovan to media on Wednesday when asked about LaVine's injury.
by Sam Smith
Remind Me Later

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So perhaps this first week of a dream Bulls season may not be perfect.

The record still is with the 4-0 Bulls Thursday hosting the 3-1 Knicks in a game John Starks surely will be watching.

Though many of us will be watching Zach LaVine.

The Bulls high soaring guard currently on a 50/40/90 season shooting pace disclosed after practice Monday that he'd sustained what he termed "a grade one/two (thumb) sprain... small tear and just seeing how it feels."

LaVine said he suffered it during Monday's Bulls win in Toronto, and fortunately it's to his left, non shooting hand.

LaVine said he intends to play with the injury, having a wrap on his finger. But because it just occurred Monday, he and the training staff and management will monitor progress and pain tolerance.

"He could be (limited)," acknowledged Bulls coach Billy Donovan. "He's got a sprain. I don't want to say it's severe, but it's more than mild. We just have to see how he feels and how he's doing. He was able to do some stuff today, not everything. We don't want to certainly put him into contact situations where he could aggravate it. I think it's just something that's gonna take some time to tell and we'll see how he does. I would think that if he does not jam it again or get hit there again that it will heal and he'll be OK."

Donovan broached the possibility of a few games' rest, but said that will be a medical and personal decision.
 "Figuring out what he (and the medical staff) thinks is best and what the pain is like and how much he can tolerate and what he can do," said Donovan.

It's certainly a disappointment, if not quite devastating yet, with the Bulls off to their best start in 25 years and LaVine on a team with his first four-game winning streak in his pro career. Given surgery isn't imminent and it's the left hand, LaVine remained hopeful he could play and contribute.

"I felt better (practicing Wednesday) than I did, obviously, in the game when it hurt a lot more," said LaVine. "We'll see how it goes. I'm going to try and manage it as best as I can and see how it feels (Thursday). I want to have a chance to play in the game. Just going through different tape jobs or ways of protecting it and doing my treatment."

Zach LaVine pumps his fist after finishing a two-handed flush while getting fouled during Chicago's win over Toronto on Monday.

Zach LaVine pumps his fist after finishing a two-handed flush while getting fouled during Chicago's win over Toronto on Monday.

LaVine said he didn't know if playing would exacerbate the condition. He said his finger inadvertently was pulled backward.

"I think right now it's just trying to figure out how to manage the pain and keep it safe and then going forward I'll get more information on it if I plan on playing with it," LaVine said. "That's just going to be the main thing, dealing with the pain. Obviously if they say I'm safe, I'm safe. If it's a pain thing and I'm able to play, then I can deal with it. You know me. I try to play through everything. If I'm able to, I will. If not, we'll see how it goes.

"I don't know how it's going to affect me or the team," LaVine said. "I think we'll be OK either way. That's part of the game, injuries, and you have to play with them. We'll probably work through over the next 24 hours trying to figure out what will work best and what will feel good."

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

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