Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine will miss the team’s regular season opener against the Miami Heat Wednesday night with left knee injury management, according to Bulls public relations.
LaVine told reporters after a Wednesday morning shooting in Miami that his absence was not due to a setback, but rather load control for his knee.
He was unsure of his status for Friday’s game against the Washington Wizards, the front-end of a back-to-back for the team’s home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
LaVine, who signed a five-year contract of up to $215 million last season, suffered persistent pain in his knee during the second half of the 2021-2022 season before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in May. However, he and the Bulls have expressed continued confidence in his health from the start of training camp, and LaVine played in the first three games of the preseason, averaging 21.8 minutes per game before sitting out the final.
Just like after practice on Friday, LaVine again reiterated confidence that his health would leave the preseason.
“I just feel good,” he said at the time. “I think the most important thing has been that I don’t have aches and pains and that I can go out and really play without restrictions in my own mind. … I’m just glad I’m feeling better.”
LaVine has been part of the All-Star team for the past two seasons, averaging 24.4 points at 47.6% in 67 games last season. The Bulls already have no point guard Lonzo Ball to start the season as he recovers from knee surgery at the start of training camp.