CHICAGO — Bulls guard Zach LaVine will be out four to six months after he undergoes surgery on his right foot next week.
According to the team, LaVine and his agency, Klutch Sports Group, elected to have the procedure after seeking additional medical opinions.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan emphasized Saturday that it was LaVine’s decision to have surgery, but he also said he believed the star guard had tried to rehab his foot and get back on the floor.
LaVine had not played since he sprained his right ankle on Jan. 18. However, the sprain had healed, according to Donovan, and LaVine has been sidelined because of additional discomfort in his foot. The same issue forced LaVine to miss 17 games earlier this season.
Donovan had said at practice Friday that the team expected LaVine to be out at least another week before he was re-evaluated.
“He made a decision he felt was best for his health,” Donovan said before Saturday’s game against the Kings. “I really feel like he did everything he could to try to get himself back to playing.
“The discomfort in his foot was at at place where I think he didn’t feel like he had any chance to be himself. That was the really frustrating part of it.”
LaVine’s disjointed 2023-24 season ends after just 25 games (23 starts). He averaged 19.5 points on 45.2% shooting — his lowest scoring total since he played 24 games coming off ACL surgery in 2017-18 — 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He missed 17 games earlier this season with initial right ankle inflammation. He returned on Jan. 5 and played an additional seven games before he injured his ankle again.
LaVine, who signed a five-year, $215 million max contract in July 2022, has missed double-digit games in three of the past four seasons.
LaVine had been one of the top names on the trade market ahead of next week’s deadline, but Donovan said he had not had any conversations with Bulls management about how the injury would impact the team’s future.
Chicago entered Saturday in ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bulls are 13-11 (.542) without LaVine this season and 10-15 with him.
“He’s kind of been in-and-out, but certainly you’d like to have a player of his caliber available,” Donovan said. “Now with the news coming out we’ll have to play without him. I’ve always said when you lose really good players, it impacts your team.”