Bulls coach Boylen credits Markkanen for not making excuses

Lauri Markkanen suffered an oblique injury in the fourth quarter of the Nov. 1 game at Detroit and didn't play down the stretch that night. But not much else was said about the injury until Monday, when Bulls coach Jim Boylen said he gave Markkanen the day off from practice.

Is the oblique injury partially to blame for Markkanen's slow start to the season? Since piling up 35 points and 17 rebounds in the season opener at Charlotte, Markkanen has averaged 12.7 points and shot 35 percent from the field.

"I'm going to trust him that when he tells me, 'Coach, I've got to play better and I've got to do more and I've got to take more advantage of my opportunities,'" Boylen said before Tuesday's game against the Knicks. "I'm going to trust him with that.

"I've spent three summers with the guy. I'm not going to baby him and coddle him and, 'Are you OK?' ... 'Coach, I can play.' He's trying to play through whatever he has and not use it as an excuse. I think that's big-time and I think that's what we need."

So it is possible the injury has been bothering Markkanen. But Boylen's point is the third-year forward doesn't want to blame that for his relatively quiet play of late. Markkanen hasn't missed any game time since the fourth quarter against Detroit.

Boylen also stressed that it was his decision to have Markkanen sit out Monday's practice.

"He did not want that. He did not want us to sit him out of contact," Boylen said. "You want guys to not make excuses and own their poor play or own when they think they can play better and compete, and he's trying to do that. I think we should credit him for that."

Felicio breaks wrist:

Center Cristiano Felicio is expected to miss 4-8 weeks after breaking his right wrist in a fall at Monday's practice. Felicio has not been active for any games this season.

"We're going to do an MRI tomorrow just to give us a little more certainty on maybe how much separation there is in there and how much time it will be," coach Jim Boylen said. "But we're going to say 4-8 weeks and very disappointed for him. Hopefully we can get him back soon."

There was no mention of the injury Monday because even Felicio did not realize the extent of the injury, according to Boylen.

"He fell and he didn't think anything of it," Boylen said. "He said, 'Coach, I've played through stuff like this before.' He didn't think anything of it, got home and overnight it started throbbing."

Bull horns:

Bol Bol practiced with the Windy City Bulls on Tuesday. The 7-foot-2 son of the late Manute Bol has a two-way contract with Denver and was assigned to Windy City because the Nuggets don't have a G-League affiliate. ... Windy City Bulls public address announcer Nick Mitrovich handled those duties at the United Center on Tuesday. No word on a permanent replacement for Tommy Edwards, who retired after Saturday's game.

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