Zach LaVine earned being an All-Star for a second consecutive season.
He just might not be able to answer the bell this time around.
The Bulls guard was scheduled to meet with his specialist in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and find out his immediate path to dealing with the discomfort in his left knee, according to coach Billy Donovan.
That could include sitting out the All-Star Weekend, where LaVine was supposed to compete in the Three-Point Contest, as well as play for Team Durant in Sunday’s game.
“I have not spoken to him about [All-Star Weekend],’’ Donovan said on Monday. “I think all those issues before the All-Star Game, doctors will have spoken to him about all that stuff, and then decisions will be made. But I’m not sure what they’ll come to. Right now we’re just going from the step of him just going out to LA to get looked at, and once these doctors talk they’ll advise him on what they think is the best course of action after the meeting.’’
The Bulls have ruled him out of regular-season games to at least after the break, after already deciding last week that they would limit his play in back-to-backs. The nice thing for the Bulls was there were no back-to-backs on the schedule until Mar. 3-4 when they play in Atlanta and then host Milwaukee.
Before LaVine left for California, he did express to the team that he was still hoping to participate in the All-Star festivities, but obviously that all remains fluid.
“I’ll have a much better feel when I talk to our medical people,’’ Donovan said. “They’ll be there with the people in LA, but I don’t know how much more we’ll know or not know or what the process will be as far as treatment and care.’’
Donovan was asked about LaVine’s style of play possibly changing short-term if he does return quickly, specifically the dunking, but the coach didn’t see that happening.
“No one is telling him, ‘Hey, if you can go in for a layup, go in for a layup,’ ‘’ Donovan said. “That’s definitely not being said to him. When a player is out there you certainly want him to play.’’
Gutting it out
Derrick Jones Jr. has obviously been playing in pain since returning for the Thunder game over the weekend, dealing with a fractured finger that is splinted but still on the mend for another few weeks.
The versatile wing also knows the Bulls have been short-handed, so it’s all hands on deck.
“I’m just gonna get through it,’’ Jones said of his mindset. “Personally, I love to compete, and me being out since Jan. 12 has been eating me alive on the inside. I was just waiting for this pain to die down a little bit so I could hop back out there. Soon as it went away a little bit, I was right back out there.’’
Remembering the Alamo
All-Star DeMar DeRozan was asked recently why he seems to be like a fine wine, improving with age, and credited his three seasons in San Antonio as a reason why.
“My three years in San Antonio, I kind of took a back seat from scoring so much,’’ DeRozan said. “Open up other parts of my game and understand, but in the back of my mind I always at heart knew I was a scorer. That was my mentality first and foremost. I didn’t give it a chance to really just let it out like I wanted to in San Antonio because there were other parts of my game I started to grow at.’’