Will nasal surgery fix Kornet's slow start?
Bulls center Luke Kornet had surgery Monday to repair a sinus obstruction. He is expected to be able to resume physical activity in 7-10 days.
Kornet did not play in the previous three games. There was no mention of the nasal issue on the injury report, but coach Jim Boylen said Monday that was a reason why Kornet wasn't playing.
"We had this diagnosis on the nose three weeks ago to a month, but it got to the point where his sleep patterns and his overall health we felt was suffering," Boylen said before the Milwaukee game. "So I held him out these last two games more because of that than anything."
But it's also true that Kornet wasn't playing well. Billed as a 7-foot stretch-five, Kornet shot just 21.7 percent from 3-point range in the first 10 games and wasn't faring well defensively. The Bulls signed him as a free agent last summer after he spent his first two NBA seasons with New York.
"Does he need to play better? Of course," Boylen said. "He knows it, we've talked about it. I think he's a winning player. The math says he's a winning player. He's got to prove that for us. So we'll see what happens when he comes back."
Kornet broke his nose on Dec. 19 last season while playing for the Knicks, which was where this problem likely began. Boylen said there was no bone damage, which should help with the healing process.
The two-game stint with the Windy City Bulls last weekend was meant to prepare rookie center Daniel Gafford for a role in the Bulls' rotation.
Gafford got the call early in Monday's game, checking in at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter after Wendell Carter Jr. picked up his second foul.
Gafford got three dunks before the quarter ended, one on an alley-oop from fellow rookie Coby White.
"(I told him) just play hard. Just run somebody over, knock somebody down," coach Jim Boylen said before the game. "I really like this guy. When I talk to these guys about their G-League assignments and what I'd like them to do, he's one of those guys, 'OK, whatever you need me to do coach. Sounds great.' "
Gafford, a second-round pick from Arkansas, averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and shot 81 percent from the field in the three games he played in the G-League. The Windy City Bulls went 3-0 with Gafford in the lineup.
"He's my kind of guy," Boylen said. "He cares about the team, plays hard and all he wants to do is help the team win."
Kornet loses sleep:
Bulls coach Jim Boylen had more to say about Luke Kornet's disappointing start, which has been preempted by nasal surgery.
"Luke Kornet is a piece of what we're building," he said. "We signed him to make us better. Like other guys on our team, he has not played as well as maybe we hoped. We discussed his sinuses a month ago. We felt and he felt we could work our way through it. Over time it got worse.
"The No. 1 thing that's not happening for him is he doesn't sleep. So we came to the conclusion that this was the best time to do this and get it done."