Zach LaVine faces grueling practice stretch, eyes Bulls debut

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 02 2018 03:53 PM

Zach LaVine (8) of the Chicago Bulls looks on during the game against the Indiana Pacers on November 10, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Gary Dineen, NBAE via Getty Images/AFP

The Chicago Bulls are holding out hope that Zach LaVine, a key part of the deal that sent Jimmy Butler packing in the offseason, could return in the coming days.

With three practices under his belt, one with the Bulls and two with the team's G League affiliate, LaVine is showing signs he could be ready to return from a torn ACL.

The former Slam Dunk champion will have two more practices with the Windy City Bulls this week, followed by another with the NBA team before any decision is made.

"This is the start of a training-camp-type workload for Zach with consecutive days of contact,'' coach Fred Hoiberg told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"He'll get another good one. The good thing is Windy City has a good little stretch here where they don't play. They'll be able to go hard, and Zach will play a big part in those practices.''

LaVine laid out his expectations for the nearly week-long training session: "Full on, full blast. I expect to be sore. If I'm not sore, I wasn't going hard enough. They're calling it my training camp, so I should be pretty damn sore.

The Bulls, who sit at 13-23 -- 5.5 games out of the eighth playoff spot in the East -- could use the help.

They had a strong December, finishing the month on a 10-3 run behind the return of forward Nikola Mirotic.

Adding the offensive firepower of LaVine, who was in the midst of a breakout season in Minnesota when he was hurt, should help ease the burden on Mirotic and standout rookie Lauri Markkanen, not to mention fellow playmaker and former Timberwolves player Kris Dunn.

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