Bulls’ Markka­nen sched­uled to make season de­but

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports -

In an un­ex­pected de­vel­op­ment, Lau­riMarkka­nen was set to make his season de­but for the Bulls on Satur­day night against the Rockets, the Chicago Tri­bune re­ported.

Markka­nen, who missed the first 23 games with a right el­bow in­jury suf­fered dur­ing the first week of train­ing camp, was ex­pected to be on a min­utes re­stric­tion if he goes through warmups with­out is­sue. Prior to the game, the coach­ing staff was still de­ter­min­ing if Markka­nen would start or come off the bench.

A re­turn on Tues­day at the Pac­ers had been dis­cussed in­ter­nally, and coach Fred Hoiberg said last week that Markka­nen would need “at least a week” of work af­ter be­ing cleared for con­tact. But Markka­nen has un­der­gone two con­tact prac­tices and mul­ti­ple in­di­vid­ual work­outs with­out is­sue.

So the Bulls made the move to de­cide to play him against the Rockets.

“I feel good,” Markka­nen said Fri­day night in Detroit. “I’ve got a cou­ple prac­tices in and no pain, so that’s a good sign. There’s been noth­ing the next day af­ter prac­tice. I’ve been play­ing nor­mally. So that’s good.”

The Bulls didn’t hold a morn­ing shootaround Satur­day be­cause of backto-back games. But the sched­ule plays out well for Markka­nen to re­turn on Satur­day. The Bulls don’t play again un­til Tues­day and then have an­other two days off un­til a Fri­day home game against the Thun­der.

DAVID BANKS AP

Chicago Bulls for­ward Lauri Markka­nen has missed the first 23 games with a right el­bow in­jury.

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