By Cody Westerlund–
CHICAGO (670 The Score) — Bulls guard Zach LaVine has entered what he termed the “training camp” stage of his rehab from left ACL surgery last February.
LaVine on Saturday embarked on the first of what the Bulls have planned to be six straight days of full contact practice for him. LaVine’s next four days of practice will come with the Windy City Bulls of the G League, then he’ll join the Bulls again Thursday.
After that, he’ll be further evaluated and a plan for his season debut could be formulated.
“I feel like it’s the last little bit I got to get through before I’m back out there,” LaVine said. “Attack it and do what I have to do and keep it moving.”
The 22-year-old LaVine acknowledged that his patience has “almost ran out.” He has felt physically strong in his knee for some time and explained that regaining top conditioning is now a focus. With that, he’s expects soreness but not setback.
In a notable development, LaVine has shed his knee brace.
“It’s like adding three pounds on your leg,” said LaVine, who averaged 18.9 points for the Timberwolves last season before his injury . “So I made the decision to not go with it. It’s safe. It’s more between me and the doctor and stuff like that, so I appreciate that.”
The Bulls have discussed the possibility of LaVine first playing in G League games before returning to NBA action. When he does return, he’ll be on a minutes limitation initially.
As he itches to rejoin a rebuilding Bulls team that has gone on a 10-2 tear to improve to 13-22, LaVine feels his voice has carried weight throughout the rehab process. He also understands the caution the organization has exercised, acknowledging the dark history of ACL injuries for former star Derrick Rose.
“We meet every week or two weeks about things,” LaVine said. “I give my opinion. They’ve obviously been through it more than I have with them going to school for it and stuff like that. So I have to give trust in that. I obviously have my opinion on some things that I wouldn’t want to do or not having done. The things I’ve liked doing differently, we’ve changed it. I’m glad it’s a team effort.”
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.