Still some uncertainty with Bulls forward Javonte Green and his knee

It’s been an all-too familiar answer.

“He hasn’t done any running or jumping,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, when asked about the latest injury status of one of his players.

And no, for the first time in almost a year, it wasn’t Lonzo Ball he was talking about.

It was in fact forward Javonte Green, who had a minor exploratory surgery done two weeks ago on his right knee, and was still on the road back. The length of that journey was still up in the air, especially with the latest update from Donovan.

“All of it I think has been to regain his strength and weight room stuff, whatever mobility things they have him doing,” Donovan said. “I’ll probably get a better idea of where he’s at physically once they say he can get on the court and start moving around a little bit, but he has not been able to do any of that.”

What Donovan could say about Green on Monday was that even when he does return, the chances of him going back to the starting lineup was unlikely for the time being.

It was back in early December, following an embarrassing showing in Phoenix, that Green took over Patrick Williams’ starting spot, with Williams moved to the second unit. That look was more of a glance, however, as Green started in Golden State the next game, and had the knee issues in the wake of that loss.

He was in and out of games after that, but never as a starter because of the knee and the minutes restrictions put in place.

That ship may now have sailed.

“It’s hard to say what it would have been like going forward once he gets healthy and begins playing because you have to see where he’s at,” Donovan said of Green. “I just felt the way we were playing at that point in the season, we needed to look at something a little different.

“Patrick’s done a great job, and I don’t think it’s necessarily even making that change. It wasn’t necessarily about Patrick. It was about how do we kind of pair these groupings of five together where maybe we can get off to a better start?”

Home alone

Goran Dragic missed the game against the Hawks, and did not travel with the team to Indiana afterward, dealing with a non-Covid illness.

The hope for the reserve guard was that he starts to feel better in the next few days, and can join the team at some point on the three-city road trip.

“With the trip we had overseas, and the coming back, the amount of people he’s around, just trying to keep him separate from the team so it doesn’t spread would be important,” Donovan said.

Dragic was averaging 7.2 points and 2.8 assists per game off the bench.

Loaded up

While Donovan said that the medical staff was still monitoring Zach LaVine and his left knee when it comes to back-to-backs, the two-time All-Star sounded like the load management schedule he was under to start the season was long gone.

“I’m more than fine,” LaVine said of his health. “I’ve played every game since the beginning of the season, so I’ve played just as many games pretty much as anyone on the team.”

The last back-to-back that LaVine sat was way back in November, when he sat the first game of the two. He hasn’t missed a game since.

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