Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine will miss the team’s regular season opener against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night with a left knee injury, according to Bulls public relations.
LaVine told reporters after Wednesday morning’s shooting in Miami that his absence was not related to a setback but rather to handling the load on his knee.
He was unsure of his status for Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards, the start of a straight game ahead of the team’s home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
LaVine, who signed a five-year, $215 million max contract last offseason, suffered from persistent knee pain in the second half of the 2021-22 season before undergoing knee arthroscopy in may. However, he and the Bulls have continually expressed confidence in his health since the start of training camp, and LaVine played in the team’s first three preseason games, averaging 21.8 minutes per game before not participate in the final.
As recently as after practice Friday, LaVine again reiterated his confidence in his health coming out of preseason.
“I just feel good,” he said then. “I think the main thing is to not have any soreness and to be able to play there and really play without limits in my mind. … I’m just happy to feel better.”
LaVine has been an All-Star the past two seasons and averaged 24.4 points on 47.6 percent shooting in 67 games last season. The Bulls are already without point guard Lonzo Ball to start the season as he recovers from knee surgery near the start of training camp.
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