Adding guard David Nwaba to the starting lineup appeared to pay off for the Bulls. In his three games as a starter, the Bulls pulled off an upset win in Orlando and were competitive in losses to Miami and New Orleans.
But Nwaba will be sidelined 2-4 weeks after suffering a right ankle sprain in the third quarter of Saturday's loss to the Pelicans. Coach Fred Hoiberg said Nwaba wore a walking boot Monday.
"He does provide us with something that we don't have," Hoiberg said. "His speed is so much better than anybody at his position as far as getting down the floor. He's given us baskets in transition when we're struggling to score.
"We'll miss that out of David. We'll miss his tenacity on the glass. We'll miss his effort on the defensive end, to get into the other team's best player and make it tough on them."
Hoiberg said Paul Zipser will likely return to the starting lineup on Tuesday at Toronto, and Denzel Valentine, who scored a season-high 16 points on Saturday, will play more off the bench.
Mirotic makes progress:
Asked what he'd say to Nikola Mirotic, who is still at home recovering from facial fractures while Bobby Portis returns from an eight-game suspension, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg focused on recovery.
"The biggest thing in my conversations with Niko right now is to continue to make progress and continue to get better," Hoiberg said. "Every day he's been able to increase his workload on the bike and in the pool. That's the important thing to worry about now -- getting him physically ready."
LaVine inches closer:
Zach Lavine is approaching the nine-month anniversary of surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, which means he may be close to returning to full practice.
"Zach is doing pretty much everything with us now 5-on-0, still no contact," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "We hope when we go out on our West Coast trip (starting Nov. 19) to have him cleared for some element of contact and then take it from there."
LaVine, a two-time slam dunk contest champ, has been recovering well. He was obviously one of the key pieces in the draft night trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota.
Dunn too careless:
Kris Dunn has been one of the league's most turnover-prone players, averaging 4.3 in limited minutes during the four games he has played since recovering from a dislocated finger.
"The ones where they're just completely unforced, those are the ones we have to eliminate," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Just the careless ones, the one-hand over-the-head pass, the behind-the-back pass, trying to squeeze something into a small space that just isn't there.
"If he's being aggressive, fighting to get downhill and turns it over when he's playing with aggression, you can live with those."