Markkanen appears set to be next Bulls player to return

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Bulls should continue to roll out players returning from injury on Wednesday. Lauri Markkanen is expected to return from roughly six weeks off with a stress reaction in his pelvis when the Bulls play at Minnesota.

    The Bulls should continue to roll out players returning from injury on Wednesday. Lauri Markkanen is expected to return from roughly six weeks off with a stress reaction in his pelvis when the Bulls play at Minnesota. Associated press

 
 
Updated 3/3/2020 6:53 PM

The Bulls have been busy with the late-winter roll out this week, essentially reintroducing key players on the team.

On Saturday in New York, center Wendell Carter Jr. returned from a severe ankle sprain. On Monday, Otto Porter was back from a broken foot. Now on Wednesday in Minnesota, Lauri Markkanen is likely to make his comeback from a stress reaction in his pelvis.

 

When practice ended Tuesday at the Advocate Center, Markkanen was working out on the court with three assistant coaches and running a few sprints. He certainly looked like someone ready for action.

"I feel pretty good. I'm hoping to play," Markkanen said. "It's up to coach if I'm going to play or not. Physically, I feel ready to go. Sitting on the sideline for five weeks, you're really anxious to get playing."

Meanwhile, leading scorer Zach LaVine will miss his second straight game Wednesday because of a left quad strain. He estimated he'll probably be out a week.

"I was upset that everybody's coming back and then you know, I'm exiting stage left," LaVine said. "So it's a little weird. I think it's just the way our season's been going and take it with a grain of salt. But I know mine isn't a lengthy injury like they had, so I'll be back out there soon."

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Bulls coach Jim Boylen said if Markkanen feels good Wednesday morning, then he should play against the Timberwolves. Markkanen's last game action was also against Minnesota and he scored 21 points in a Bulls' victory at the United Center on Jan. 22.

Markkanen talked about how he was still struggling with an ankle injury when he was diagnosed with the stress reaction. So now he feels healthier all the way around.

"I would say I'm pretty close (to 100 percent)," he said. "Definitely better than January. I feel good."

LaVine's injury was a little unexpected, since he played a full game on Saturday in New York and hadn't missed a game all season.

"I felt it in my pregame shooting, actually," LaVine said. "I played through it in New York and it just got worse after the game. I just went to get an MRI and it just showed that I strained it, so I think it might've just been a little bit of wear and tear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I can play through it right now if I really wanted to, but it's just being smart about it and not trying to make it worse than what it is at this time. I'll be out probably about a week and try to figure out what's a good time to come back just to make sure it heals all the way up."

Meanwhile, the plan is to increase the minutes of Carter and Porter a little at a time. Porter scored 18 points in 17 minutes during Monday's win over Dallas, his first game action since Nov. 6. Carter logged 23 minutes in his second game back.

"Felt good out there, back in the groove a little bit," Porter said after the game. "My energy was very high as I was very excited about it. Doing something you love is like giving candy to a baby. You're going to be happy."

Besides LaVine, one other player the Bulls might get back from injury is forward Chandler Hutchison. He's out with a bruised shoulder and was running sprints on the court at the end of Tuesday's practice.

Boylen confirmed guard Kris Dunn is out for the season with a right knee sprain. He's still on crutches after suffering the injury Jan. 31 in Brooklyn when teammate Thad Young took a charge and fell backward into Dunn's knee. Center Luke Kornet is also done for the year with a broken foot.

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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