Friday afternoon, the Bulls announced that Lauri Markkanen will miss extended time with a stress reaction of his right pelvis. Markkanen underwent an MRI that revealed the injury on Jan. 23.
INJURY UPDATE:— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 24, 2020
Lauri Markkanen underwent an MRI of his right hip at Rush Hospital on Jan. 23 which revealed an early stress reaction of his right pelvis. Following a period of rest, Markkanen will resume basketball related activities with a full return anticipated in 4-6 weeks.
It's another chapter in an injury-riddled campaign and career for Markkanen — this will be his third extended absence in the past two seasons. Earlier this season, Markkanen played through nagging oblique and, more recently, ankle ailments, something head coach Jim Boylen said he's proud of him for doing.
"We’re always going to look out for the best interest of our guy. Lauri had a goal to play 82 games and he fought through the oblique and he fought through the ankle. We felt those were things that were acceptable fight through, and this is something that we are going to have him fight through," Boylen said. "He wants to play, he’s disappointed that he’s not playing and we hope we get him back as soon as possible."
Markkanen and Boylen didn't pinpoint an exact incident that sparked the injury, both saying it's something that has been ailing Markkanen for some time.
"I can't think of specific, like, what happened. Just a couple games now, it just felt like normal soreness, been getting normal treatment, like just how it is and trying to get ready for a game and that's how it's been," Markkanen said, adding that he first started feeling the soreness about 10 days ago.
"I really wanted to play, but at the same time I had to take a step back and think what’s actually smart."
While the Bulls made no mention of a procedure in their statement, Markkanen will undergo a 'period of rest', with a recovery timetable of 4-6 weeks. The news adds another layer to a tumultious month of January for the team — Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Otto Porter Jr. are all currently sidelined and without exact designations for return.
"I haven't had enough time to think about all that. I just got the news a little while ago," Markkanen said when asked about the implications of the injury.
Still, it's a surprising and unfortunate setback for Markkanen, who has been enduring an up and down campaign. Markkanen is currently averaging career lows in points (15), rebounds (6.5) and field goal attempts (12) per game. Thad Young will slide into the starting lineup in his place.
"When it rains it pours, right?" Young said. "It’s a big blow to what we do, big blow to how our offense has been moving and operating... But for us, what's wrong with him, we have to think about the long-term situation and the health of our players."
Through it all, the Bulls' mentality remains next-man-up.
"We just take this opportunity to develop our roster. Some next man has to step up. And we keep trying to play hard and play the right way," Boylen said. "This happens in our league. It happens, its part of the business. It’s disappointing, but hopefully he comes back sooner than later. In the meantime, we got to play basketball games and play the right way."
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