Markkanen returns to working out
There was visual evidence Thursday that Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen could be approaching a return.
Markkanen has been out since Jan. 24 due to a stress reaction in his pelvis. After practice on Thursday, he was out on the floor doing some shooting and drills with a couple of coaches.
"He's had a couple days of that," coach Jim Boylen said. "He didn't have any contact today. He got his conditioning in, his lift in, his shooting in, his skillwork in. We call it a batting practice day for him."
There's still no timetable for Markkanen's return. When he was first diagnosed, the team said he'd be reevaluated in 4-6 weeks and it will be exactly five weeks on Friday. So maybe a return to practice could be in the works.
"I think we're getting close," Boylen said. "Lauri's a worker. When he gets his chance to do his work, he does his work. When he can get into that mode and he gets his clearance, he gets after it. When we can have contact with him we will and we'll evaluate that as we go."
The Bulls had two negative injury updates on Thursday. Coby White, on the heels of three straight games of scoring at least 33 points, tweaked his back during his regular pre-practice workout. There's no official word on his status for Saturday's game against New York.
Center Luke Kornet has been ruled out for the year with a sprained left ankle and broken bone in his foot.
Boylen eyes the positive:
There's been plenty of bad news on the injury front this season, starting with the team's highest-paid player, Otto Porter, going out with a broken foot on Nov. 6. Coach Jim Boylen talked Thursday about dealing with constant setbacks.
"I cannot wallow in that negativity or the things I can't control," he said. "Otherwise, I don't do as good a job on that floor teaching the guys that are practicing and are playing and staying positive and upbeat. That's what I get paid to do and I take a lot of pride in my attitude in these moments.
"That's what this league is about to me. It's easy when your team's healthy and you're playing good and you're winning games and all that, the league's really fun. But a lot of us in the league right now are going through these moments and that's part of it."
During his 20-plus seasons as an NBA assistant, the worst teams Boylen has been involved with are the past three with the Bulls.
Porter still on hold:
Otto Porter practiced Thursday, but coach Jim Boylen had no update on when the veteran forward might return from a broken foot.
"No setback," Boylen said. "Again, we look at the numbers, we talk to them. There's a lot of factors."