CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls could be without Zach LaVine when they try to avoid a playoff knockout by the Milwaukee Bucks after the two-time All-Star entered health and safety protocols on Tuesday. NBA.
The Bucks lead the first-round series 3-1 and will look to wrap up the series in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Coach Billy Donovan said LaVine was not feeling well. Donovan was informed as the team prepared to train that his player was entering protocols.
The Bucks have won the last two games in Chicago by a total of 54 points, and the defending NBA champions have done so without Khris Middleton, who has a left knee injury.
LaVine, meanwhile, has been in and out of Chicago training for the past few months due to left knee pain. Now he’s in health and safety protocols for the third time in a year: He tested positive for coronavirus last April and again in December.
“We kind of dealt with that all year,” Donovan said. “Whether it’s injury and/or COVID, we’ve had guys come in and out. I think a lot of times our mentality has been this. The guys did a really good job handling this. Anytime you lose a player like Zach LaVine, there’s no doubt it impacts your team just like Middleton impacts their team.
With guard Alex Caruso in concussion protocol after inadvertently taking a blow to the face from Milwaukee’s Jevon Carter on Sunday and point guard Lonzo Ball suffering from a season-ending knee injury in January, the Bulls could losing three starters as they try to avoid elimination.
LaVine averaged 24.4 points during the regular season and made his second straight All-Star Team. The eight-year veteran is averaging 19.3 points in his first playoff series.
“It’s frustrating,” said DeMar DeRozan, who spoke to LaVine on Tuesday morning. “I can’t even imagine how he feels. But the most important part now is to make sure he comes out of this thing feeling healthy.
The Bulls finished sixth in the Eastern Conference at 46-36 after spending part of the season at the top. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and ended a losing streak of four consecutive seasons.
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