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LaVine plans to return against Hornets Thursday

/ by Rob Schaefer
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Zach LaVine is just about back.

LaVine worked out Tuesday without incident, is scheduled to practice Wednesday and, according to sources, plans to play Thursday when the Bulls visit the Charlotte Hornets barring an unforeseen setback.

That would end an 11-game absence for the All-Star guard, who entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols on April 15. Head coach Billy Donovan told reporters Monday LaVine had cleared protocol, rejoined the team and the hope was he could return Thursday, but that he needed two additional workout days in advance of a road-and-home back-to-back against the Hornets and Boston Celtics.

"He's excited to be back playing," Donovan said. "I think for him getting in the gym was good."

The Bulls are 4-7 in LaVine's absence and have fallen to the outermost fringes of the play-in race, trailing the 10th-place Washington Wizards by four games with seven to go.

Whether they spin a miracle or no, getting their leading scorer back will be a boost down the stretch.

NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson contributed to this report.

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