Chicago Bulls' LaVine misses first game of season with quad injury
Zach LaVine's quest to play in all 82 games this season came to an end Monday. He was scratched due to a quad strain in his left leg.
The Bulls are down to two players who have played in every game -- Tomas Satoransky and Coby White. Before Monday's game against Dallas, LaVine was seen walking gingerly into the locker room. Coach Jim Boylen said the Bulls' leading scorer will take it day by day with his recovery.
"I know he's very disappointed," Boylen said before the game. "I know he'll come out when he can, we won't take any chances. He did have an MRI."
LaVine has taken a step up from last season, but, besides missing his first game, he missed out on his goal of making the all-star team, while the Bulls haven't come close to being the playoff contender they were expecting at the start of the season. Boylen was asked to evaluate LaVine's performance so far.
"He's done a great job with his habits and his pre-practice, his post-practice," Boylen said. "I think he's tried to become a complete player. I think that's really important to him. Not only a guy who can score but can make decisions. Not only a guy who can make decisions, but a guy who can consistently guard and turns people over and runs the lane and gets his shots off the ball as well as on the ball.
"Just all those complete-player things, I think he's focused on those. He's very coachable. I think he's handled his frustration well. It's been a difficult season with the injuries and some of the situations we've had. I think he's really matured this year and the future's bright."
Markkanen joins practice:
Lauri Markkanen moved a step closer to returning to the court. He participated in a Windy City Bulls practice Monday at the Advocate Center.
Markkanen has been out since Jan. 24 with a stress reaction in his pelvis. With no setbacks, returning to game action this week is a possibility.
"I watched some of (the practice). He looked comfortable, he moved well," coach Jim Boylen said. "He looked like Lauri -- skilled, big, rebounded the ball.
"We'll see how Lauri feels tomorrow. We'll evaluate him in the morning and see how he feels. I think he's close. I do expect him to travel to Minnesota (Tuesday). We'll see if he plays or not, figure it out."
Porter hits study table:
While sitting out for nearly four months with a broken left foot, Otto Porter said one of the things he did was study other players, like Dallas' Luka Doncic.
"Just studied how he attacked pick-and-rolls and stuff like that. I studied a lot while I was gone," Porter said at Monday's shootaround. "It's been a tough one. This is the longest I've ever been out, away from the game of basketball. But, you know, you learn a lot about yourself, you learn a lot about the team, the game and what you can do."