Green still not moving laterally
If lateral movement wasn’t a prerequisite for playing in the NBA, the Bulls’ training room would have a lot more space.
It is, however, and forward Javonte Green is the latest Bulls player to be hampered by the lack of it.
In an update on Green’s rehab status after surgery on his right knee in January, coach Billy Donovan said Green was stuck in straight-ahead running, despite the team hoping he would have been able to move laterally at this point.
‘‘We’re kind of there with him,’’ Donovan said Sunday. ‘‘Different stuff of what they’ve tried to push him toward, they’ve got to go off his tolerance, so we’ve been kind of at the same thing where the linear, straight-ahead running has been pretty good. They have not been able to progress him yet to any lateral stuff.’’
That was the roadblock guard Lonzo Ball (surgery on left knee) couldn’t get past for more than a year, with the Bulls finally announcing two weeks ago that he had been shut down for the rest of the season.
That’s not the case with Green yet, even with only 17 regular-season games left.
‘‘I don’t know if I would refer to it as a setback,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘He just hasn’t been able to move to the next step. That’s kind of where he’s at physically right now.
‘‘I did not ask any further questions of, ‘Hey, how much longer before we think that he can start to do some of that stuff ?’ We’ll have to wait and see.’’
While being without Green isn’t the same as being without Ball, don’t undersell his importance to the Bulls. Besides his plus/minus (plus-55) still being the third-highest on the team, Green is a key contributor defensively and a sneaky rebounder.
‘‘His motor, his energy, the way he plays, the physicality piece,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘I think the biggest thing for him, his greatest attribute, is he knows who he is as a player. He kind of plays to who he is.
‘‘He’s not a guy that feels like he can impact the game by shooting the ball or putting the ball on the floor, create, score. He impacts the game with his defense, his energy, his offensive rebounds, getting out in transition, loose balls, all those types of things that he brings to the table.’’
Green will be a free agent at the end of the season, which adds even more uncertainty to his future with the organization.
Donovan said he spoke with guard Patrick Beverley on the phone before the Bulls made the decision to sign him off waivers two weeks ago, but one topic that never came up is the idea of keeping him beyond this season.
‘‘We didn’t speak about anything as far as long-term [things],’’ Donovan said. ‘‘We spoke about where our team was at and how I thought he could come in and help us. I wanted to get his perspective. He’s a guy that knows the league really well. Everything I talked to him about was the basketball piece.’’
The Bulls are 3-3 since signing Beverley after their loss Sunday to the Pacers.