Back from quarantine, LaVine not ready to give up on Bulls season
Just when the Bulls hit the home stretch of the season, Zach LaVine was stuck at home in his basement, sidelined by a positive COVID test.
The team's top scorer was back at practice Wednesday and plans to return to game action Thursday in Charlotte. He hasn't played since the April 14 loss to Orlando.
"It's been real boring," LaVine said. "Watched a whole bunch of movies. Worked on my golf swing. What else did I do? Played video games, got tired of playing video games. Played phone games with my fiancee.
"She was being a nurse to me delivering food up and down the stairs. I did everything to try to keep me from going insane."
The Bulls (26-39) had playoff aspirations for most of the season. But now it appears LaVine is coming back to a lost cause. As of Wednesday morning, the Bulls were four games behind Washington for the 10th-place play-in spot with seven left to play, and would have to jump over Toronto to get there.
Losing out and praying for draft lottery luck appears to be the Bulls' best course of action at this point. If they can land in the top four, they can keep their 2021 draft pick. Otherwise, it goes to Orlando as part of the Nikola Vucevic trade.
"I'm not somebody who's going to sit here and try to be, 'All hope is lost,' " LaVine said. "I'm going to come in here and try to do my job. It's going to be tough. Obviously the games are stacked up against you. From what I've been telling guys, you can't worry about that.
"Let's just go out and take care of our jobs. If we take care of the wins, let the pieces fall where they may. But you can't depend and dwell on other teams. We've got to take care of our business. That's why I'm coming back. I want to be able to try to fight for something at the end of the season."
LaVine, who had mild symptoms, said he has no idea how he contracted COVID.
"I think I'm one of the more careful guys and I did everything the right way," he said. "I might have had a headache one night, but besides that I was fine."
The Bulls went 4-7 in the games LaVine missed, but have lost their last four, all by double digits.
Coach Billy Donovan said Vucevic was a full participant in Wednesday's practice after missing the previous two games with a hip injury.
The Bulls are headed into a set of back-to-backs games.
After Charlotte, they host Boston Friday, which will be the first time in about 14 months fans will be allowed inside the United Center.
LaVine says he's ready to do what he can in both games with no minutes restrictions.
"He looked fine and seemed fine (in practice)," Donovan said. "But we'll see how he does in a game. Maybe a situation early where he needs to play shorter stints. There's going to be some fatigue issues, I don't think there's any question about that."