Bulls' injured Markkanen starting to get back on track

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen, seen here in a game from last November in Los Angeles, is "starting to up his activity level," according to coach Fred Hoiberg.

    Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen, seen here in a game from last November in Los Angeles, is "starting to up his activity level," according to coach Fred Hoiberg. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/31/2018 8:02 PM

It's going to be a long road to full strength, if the Chicago Bulls even get there. The next injury could happen any time.

But there was a positive update Wednesday on Lauri Markkanen's sprained right elbow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He is starting to up his activity level," coach Fred Hoiberg said before the Denver game. "He's getting on the track now and doing some straight-line running. Last week, it was the treadmill and a bike. So he's starting to increase his workload. He's getting back in the weight room now. He's been doing a lot of lower-body, but he's starting to add to his strength training."

Markkanen was injured on the third day of training camp and missed all of preseason. Denzel Valentine also missed all of preseason with an ankle injury, while the Bulls lost Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis last week to knee sprains. The Bulls don't expect Dunn and Portis back until likely mid-December.

"Still a ways away," Hoiberg said. "(Markkanen's) going to be 2-4 weeks. Bobby and Kris are still 4-6 weeks, and Denzel's going to get a scan (Thursday), so we'll have an update on him."

No regrets for Portis:

Injured forward Bobby Portis talked about his knee injury in respect to his decision to turn down the Bulls' contract extension offer before the season opener and become a restricted free agent next summer.

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When the injury happened in the fourth quarter of last week's home game against Charlotte, Portis initially feared it could have been season-ending.

"Can't second-guess yourself. Basketball gods don't bless people that way," Portis said. "In life, obviously you have a choice. I made mine, I'm happy with what I did and I'm just living life one day at a time.

"Obviously injuries are a part of life, things happen, players get hurt, and they're curable. So at some point in the season I'll be back at full-strength and I'll be back doing what Bobby Portis does."

Jokic does it all:

Heading into Wednesday's action, Denver center Nikola Jokic led his team in points (21.5), rebounds (10.3) and assists (6.8).

Nuggets fans have already begun "MVP" champs during games at the Pepsi Center and Jokic might be a contender if the team continues to play well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I'm just playing my game, so if that's going to make me MVP one day this year, next year, in next whatever years, yes," Jokic told The Denver Post. "But I think it's still silly. I love it because it just makes me laugh."

Morris knows Hoiberg:

Nuggets guard Monte Morris played for Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State and had nice things to say about Hoiberg's motivational skills.

"It was just fun times the two years I played with him because he gave everybody 100 percent confidence to go out there," Morris said in The Denver Post. "And every time we had a big matchup, like with Bill Self (at Kansas), he always took it upon himself like it was his matchup."

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