Bulls' Markkanen says he feels fine, isn't worried about his health

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Lauri Markkanen talked Friday about the fatigue issues he faced this week in Toronto. The Bulls decided to keep the second-year forward sidelined for the rest of the season, but Markkanen said he feels fine.

    Lauri Markkanen talked Friday about the fatigue issues he faced this week in Toronto. The Bulls decided to keep the second-year forward sidelined for the rest of the season, but Markkanen said he feels fine. The Canadian Press via AP

 
 
Updated 3/29/2019 8:56 PM

So far, there's been no cause for alarm with Lauri Markkanen's health.

The Bulls decided to shut him down for the rest of the regular season after he experienced fatigue and an increased heart rate during Tuesday's loss in Toronto. The second-year forward from Finland talked about his experience Friday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Everything I've gotten so far is everything's good," Markkanen said at the Advocate Center. "We're monitoring me when I'm working out, so it's safe. We're trying to get some additional information, but everything's fine as of now.

"I wasn't really worried at any point (Tuesday). I just kind of felt really weird and just kind of how I normally (feel) after a workout, but that was like a couple minutes (into the game). It wasn't scary, but felt pretty weird."

Markkanen participated in some of Friday's practice and could be seen in the weight room when practice was over. The plan is for him to stay active while the medical staff monitors his condition.

"We're trying to act like I'm playing and do the same stuff," Markkanen said. "I did the noncontact part of practice and I'm going to be traveling with the team, kind of living the normal NBA life and they going to see how it reacts to that. I feel fine right now."

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Markkanen, who missed the first 23 games this season with a right elbow sprain, said if it were up to him, he'd still be playing.

"I took a lot of pride even if I had something small, just playing through it and not missing any more games," he said. "It's just unfortunate. I know health is the most important. So I'm just frustrated that I can't play, but it is what it is."

Injured list stays long:

Bulls coach Jim Boylen ruled Kris Dunn (back) and Otto Porter Jr. (shoulder) out for Saturday's game against Toronto. Zach LaVine (knee, bruised quad) did the noncontact portions of practice Friday and is listed as questionable.

It seems possible, maybe likely, that none of those three will return this season, since the Bulls have nothing to play for. They have six games remaining, three at home.

"Until we say they are done, the chance is they can come back," Boylen said. "I am hoping for that, I would like that. Those aren't my decisions."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Bryce-Boylen connection:

Former Bulls guard Bryce Drew was a visitor to Friday's practice. Drew was recently fired as head coach at Vanderbilt and goes back a long way with Bulls coach Jim Boylen. Before playing for the Bulls, Drew was drafted by the Houston Rockets, where Boylen was an assistant.

"Loved him as a player. He was my guy, the guy I worked out, the guy I spent time with and watched film with," Boylen said. "Great to have him. Good basketball mind, good person and close friend. I told him his next opportunity is a day closer. He's going to get one."

One of Drew's recruits at Vanderbilt was Scottie Pippen Jr., a 2019 high school grad. Maybe now that Drew is no longer coach at Vandy, Pippen will decommit and flip to Nebraska. Former Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has been mentioned as the favorite to take the vacant Nebraska job, but there's been no announcement yet.

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