Zach LaVine injury update: Bulls star on track for December return

By @saihoops on
Zach LaVine injury update
Feb 1, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine (8) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. USA TODAY Sports / Ken Blaze

Zach LaVine, who tore an ACL in his left knee in February, has been cleared for contact drills by his surgeon. Although the Chicago Bulls are yet to provide a definitive return date, LaVine is targeting a mid-to-late December comeback.

During the offseason, Chicago acquired LaVine, sophomore point guard, Kris Dunn and rookie forward Lauri Markkanen (drafted No. 7 overall) as part of a trade that sent All-Star forward Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 draft pick (Justin Patton) to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“As long as I’m progressing and doing what I need to do on the court, this thing can go fast and I can be out there playing with the guys. It feels good mentally to be cleared. My jumping and athleticism are good. All my strength numbers are there. We reiterated how I progressed (from a) muscular (standpoint). Physically, I’m more than capable (of) playing," LaVine is quoted as saying by The Chicago Tribune.

Fred Hoiberg, coach of the Bulls, is excited at the thought of bringing LaVine into a young team that includes the likes of Markkanen, Denzel Valentine, Dunn and Bobby Portis. "When you see him playing without hesitation, which will be an indication he’s ready. Just to watch him move and run gets you excited. You can do a lot of things with that athleticism," Hoiberg told reporters after a practice session on Monday.

Zach LaVine tore his ACL on Feb. 3 in a defeat against the Detroit Pistons during his stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves. LaVine has maintained for months that the career-threatening injury hasn't affected his vertical or speed. Stay tuned for the latest Zach LaVine injury update.