It appears as though Bulls star Zach LaVine will be fighting through an injury for the foreseeable future.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Chicago’s All-Star shooting guard has a small ligament tear in the thumb of his non-shooting hand. LaVine intends to play through the injury, Charania adds, with it reportedly being a matter of pain tolerance.
Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine has a small ligament tear in the thumb of his non-shooting hand but intends to play through the injury, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. It’s a matter of pain tolerance and LaVine wants to play as Chicago starts the season 4-0.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 27, 2021
The Bulls improved to 4-0 with a victory over the Raptors on Monday. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago confirmed that LaVine underwent an MRI on his thumb the following day.
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It’s unknown when, exactly, LaVine suffered the injury, though Johnson noted that he was “wincing and shaking” his hand at one point during the Raptors game.
Through four games, LaVine is averaging 25.5 points on .500/.444/.952 shooting splits. He’s also posting 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 0.5 steals per game.
In the team’s win over the Raptors, LaVine passed Michael Jordan for the fourth-most 3-pointers made in Bulls history.
LaVine’s play has powered the Bulls to the franchise’s best start since the 1996-97 season. Chicago is one of three teams still undefeated this season along with the Golden State Warriors (4-0) and Utah Jazz (3-0). LaVine has thrived next to Chicago’s new additions, most notably DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball. DeRozan is second on the team in scoring at 22.5 points per game while Ball is doing a bit of everything, leading the Bulls in minutes, assists, made 3s and even blocks. In 79 minutes on the floor together, that trio has posted a +15.2 net rating.
In addition to LaVine’s stellar play, the Bulls have turned heads early with their effort on the defensive end of the floor. Although they projected as one of the NBA’s worst defensive teams entering the season, the Bulls D has been excellent early on, ranking fourth in the NBA in defensive efficiency.
After facing the Knicks in Chicago on Thursday, the Bulls will host the Jazz on Saturday. They then hit the road for a two-game road trip against the Celtics and 76ers. Those four games represent an early test for Chicago who has been the beneficiary of a light opening week schedule. The Bulls have two wins over the Pistons (0-3), and one each over the Pelicans (1-3) and Raptors (1-3).