Chicago Bulls may give Mirotic a few more practices before returning to game action

Updated 12/4/2017 9:22 PM
  • Forward Nikola Mirotic is likely to make his season debut Saturday night when the Chicago Bulls host the New York Knicks.

    Forward Nikola Mirotic is likely to make his season debut Saturday night when the Chicago Bulls host the New York Knicks.

Nikola Mirotic might return to game action this week, but it seems likely it won't be until Saturday when the Chicago Bulls host the New York Knicks.

Before Monday's game against Cleveland, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after Mirotic practices Tuesday the team will decide whether to take him on a three-day road trip to Indiana and Charlotte.

Asked if it's possible for Mirotic to play Wednesday against the Pacers, Hoiberg said that was probably a "stretch."

"He's feeling the effects of the two two-hour practices that he had with Windy City (last week)," Hoiberg said. "I guess not too unexpected with his first time back on the floor with lengthy practices. So tomorrow is a big day. He had a good workout this morning with (director of player development) Shawn Respert."

If Mirotic doesn't make the trip, he will join Zach LaVine for more practices with Windy City.

Mirotic hasn't played yet this season. He suffered facial fractures and a concussion in an Oct. 17 practice altercation with teammate Bobby Portis. Hoiberg promised Mirotic will be in the playing rotation when he does return, perhaps paired with rookie Lauri Markkanen.

"To get past everything that's gone on is very important," Hoiberg said. "We're excited to get him back in uniform. His teammates are certainly excited to get him back because of what he can provide for us."

Making room to rebuild:

It was a relatively uneventful return to Chicago for Dwyane Wade. After spending one year with the Bulls, he took a contract buyout before training camp began. At Monday's shootaround, Wade spun it as doing his part to help the Bulls rebuild.

"I think these guys deserve to play. That's one of the reasons I didn't want to be here," Wade said. "I felt that Denzel (Valentine) and all those guys deserve a chance to come out and make mistakes with no expectations to get to the place they're going to get to in this game.

"I didn't want to be the old guy in the way of that. I understand the whole concept of mentoring. I've done that. It wasn't in the cards for me to do it this season. I felt I still had more to give to the game.

"I didn't want to just come off the bench on a team that's rebuilding. I would've been very unhappy in a basketball sense. And if basketball isn't going right, nothing is going right. I didn't want to put my family through that."

Wade likes bench role:

When Dwyane Wade first got to Cleveland, he wanted to start. But he has come around on a backup role and the Cavaliers have won 11 straight, so everything is working well.

"More than anything, I was concerned how my 35-year-old body was going to adjust to it," Wade said. "But after the first game, I was confident that I was going to be able to play this role. I've been having fun playing basketball. This is the most fun I've had in a few years. Just enjoying the game. Winning helps. No one has fun when they're losing."

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.