A Zach LaVine torn ACL injury will bring the Minnesota Timberwolves star’s season to an early end, just before the upcoming All-Star break. LaVine suffered the injury on Friday night in a losing effort against the Detroit Pistons and will now require season-ending left knee surgery to repair the damage. The rising star for the Minnesota squad will join a long list of players on the league’s ACL injury recovery club, which has included Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Levine’s Timberwolves’ teammate, Ricky Rubio.
It was recently announced that LaVine won’t be a part of the 2017 Slam Dunk contest. Levine is a two-time defending champion who won last year’s competition in an impressive showdown against runner-up Aaron Gordon. However, the latest unfortunate injury news also means there won’t be any more high-flying highlights this season for the young Minnesota star known for his skills above the rim.
The injury came as the promising young guard was driving to the basket on a layup about five minutes into the third quarter. LaVine caught the ball near the top of the three-point line from teammate Ricky Rubio and drove to the hoop, but was fouled on the way there. After falling to the floor near the out of bounds line, LaVine immediately began to clutch his knee, with the commentators realizing he hurt himself.
— Trenell (@AllSabotage) February 4, 2017
In a sad bit of irony, the Timberwolves guard was interviewed just before halftime due to an impressive 16-point performance in the first half. His team would go on to lose the game with their young star having left in the third quarter as Detroit took the contest 116-108 on their home court.
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) February 4, 2017
After the game, Minnesota examined their young star’s condition to see how serious things were. According to Bleacher Report in their update, the Timberwolves announced that an MRI showed LaVine had torn the ACL in his left knee. The injury is a well-known issue in sports that sidelines players for quite some time due to the surgery and rehabilitation process. LaVine’s season is officially over, according to the reports, possibly putting an end to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ shot at a playoff spot.
As of this report, Minnesota was 19-31 and among the teams that are several games behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference standings. The Timberwolves boast a collection of impressive young talent, including Levine, such as big man Karl-Anthony Towns, star forward Andrew Wiggins, and recent draft pick Kris Dunn out of Providence.
Following the Zach LaVine torn ACL injury update, many players, including LaVine’s teammates and other players from around the league, expressed their support as he begins a long journey ahead. Among the Timberwolves tweeting out to Levine were Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio, and Tyus Jones. NBA superstar LeBron James also tweeted out some thoughts to LaVine.
Don't know you personally but love your talent homie. Have a healthy and speedy recovery @ZachLaVine!! Minor set back/major comeback.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 4, 2017
LaVine was a lottery pick out of UCLA in 2014 and has been consistently improving his game. For the current season, the 21-year-old guard was averaging respectable stats as he was putting up 18.9 points, 3.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. The season’s scoring number was an improvement of nearly five points over last year’s average, as the Wolves’ point guard has improved in the category in each of his seasons so far. With his season cut short by the ACL tear, he now joins a lengthy list of players over the years who have sustained a similar injury during their careers.
Among those players are LaVine’s own teammate, Ricky Rubio, who had the injury in 2012, the same year that former NBA MVP Derrick Rose suffered his injury. In 2012, Rose suffered the injury in the first game of the NBA Playoffs. The Bulls’ guard required surgery and missed the rest of the postseason, taking eight to 12 months to recover from the setback. As many fans know, Rose has never been quite the same player due to various injuries he’s suffered in his career. Timberwolves fans are hoping that isn’t the case for LaVine.
Guard Rajon Rondo suffered the injury in 2013. In 2014, JJ Hickson and Nate Robinson each went down with the issue. Other players who have suffered ACL injuries over the years in the NBA have included Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, Michael Redd, Tim Hardaway, and Bernard King.
With LaVine out for the season, the rest of the Timberwolves will look to rally as one of their top young talents begins the long road to recovery from one of the toughest injuries in professional sports.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]