Joe Vardon: No Giannis tonight for shorthanded Bucks in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Coach Bud said Nikola Mirotic would be back ahead of a 2-4 week timeline, and was not concerned about his availability for the start of the playoffs
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Shams Charania: Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic has suffered a slight fracture of his left thumb and will miss at least two-to-four weeks, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
KC Johnson: Zach LaVine and his lingering sore ankles isn’t listed on Bulls injury report. Nikola Mirotic is listed as out for Bucks even though he expressed optimism he’d play. If that holds, he still won’t have played as visitor at United Center.
Malika Andrews: Nikola Mirotic is addressing media for the first time as a Milwaukee Buck. “I was really excited. Best record in the NBA. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this team.” Mirotic said his calf is “almost there” but it’s a long season and the staff decided it’s better to be safe.
Matt Velazquez: Bud confirms Giannis will be out with right knee soreness due to the pounding and wear that he absorbs on a regular basis. Nikola Mirotic (right calf strain) will also be out, though because of the roster situation may dress. Bucks are encouraged overall by Mirotic’s health.
Darnell Mayberry: No Nikola Mirotic tonight, according to Alvin Gentry.
KC Johnson: Nikola Mirotic, doubtful with a calf strain vs. Bulls, still has his sense of humor: “My focus now is to get healthy and finish strong this season. You know I’m March man as well. March is coming.” That’s a playful nod to all those hot months of March Niko had with Bulls.
The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Nikola Mirotić suffered a right calf strain in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. An MRI taken today confirmed the initial diagnosis and examination by Pelicans Director of Medical Services/Head Team Physician Dr. Misty Suri. Mirotić will be re-evaluated in one week. Further updates will be announced upon the re-evaluation.
Erik Horne: Pelicans coming into Oklahoma City battling injuries. No Anthony Davis (left index finger sprain), Nikola Mirotic (right calf strain), E’Twaun Moore (rest), or Julius Randle (right ankle sprain). Randle, who’s killed the Thunder this season, was ruled out just minutes ago.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic will test his right ankle prior to game against Cleveland tonight — and there’s hope he can return after missing 12 games. Pelicans upgraded him to questionable this afternoon.
Scott Kushner: Alvin Gentry said Nikola Mirotic practiced most of today and is “getting close” to returning.
Will Guillory: Gentry says Darius Miller will also come back tonight after dealing with an illness recently. Nikola Mirotic is getting closer but will remain out
Will Guillory: Nikola Mirotic is out, E’Twaun Moore is in for Pelicans tonight, per Alvin Gentry
Jim Eichenhofer: Alvin Gentry indicated that Nikola Mirotic might have to miss game(s) in order to get his ankle right physically. Gentry: “It’s been bothering him since he came back. The best thing to do is shut him down until he gets himself healthy.”
Scott Kushner: Alvin Gentry told reporters that they’re going to sit Niko Mirotic (ankle) out until he gets healthy. Said Mirotic has been trying to play through it and is “a gamer” but it’s not making things better.
Abby Chin: Per #Pelicans: Nikola Mirotic is OUT for the rest of the game with a sore right ankle. Just 1/5 on the night with 3 points.
Will Guillory: Alvin Gentry just told reporters in Detroit that Nikola Mirotic lost six pounds in one day because of the illness that cost him two games.
Scott Kushner: Niko Mirotic is available. Julius Randle will start. Per Alvin Gentry.
Jim Eichenhofer: Mirotic said he expects to undergo an MRI on his right ankle Thursday but he is hopeful it is nothing serious. A sprain to the same ankle kept him out of two recent games before his return to action tonight in Minnesota
Will Guillory: Elfrid Payton and Nikola Mirotic are both listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right ankle sprains pic.twitter.com/u2rOax0xCL
KC Johnson: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says it’s unlikely Nikola Mirotic will play vs. Bulls.
Jay Allen: Rajon Rondo (right wrist) will not play tonight vs. the @Portland Trail Blazers. Ian Clark will make his 3rd career start (2nd this season). Nikola Mirotic (right hip) is available for the #Pelicans. #RipCity @RipCityRadio620
KC Johnson: Lauri Markkanen was excused from practice for personal reasons. Nikola Mirotic sat with a lower left leg strain.
Nick Friedell: Niko Mirotic is out tonight because of a stomach virus. He is not at MSG now. He will rejoin the Bulls later tonight and will be checked out by the Knicks team doctor.
Darnell Mayberry: Nikola Mirotic (stomach virus) will not play tonight against Houston.
Nick Friedell: Niko Mirotic has a stomach virus. He did not go through shootaround and in doubtful vs. Rockets.
Nick Friedell: Niko Mirotic checks into his first game of the season.
KC Johnson: Mirotic will dress for 1st time tonight, won’t play. Hoiberg on Friday avail: “The biggest thing will be how he responds to the practice tomorrow and then the shootaround on Friday. If he gets through without any setbacks, then he will be available on Friday.”
Mike McGraw: Hoiberg said Mirotic will practice Tue then team will decide whether he’ll travel. Says Niko playing Wed at Indy is a stretch. #Bulls
KC Johnson: Hoiberg said Mirotic “will be in the rotation” but now says not guaranteed he’ll travel on 2-game trip. Practicing with Windy City could be more beneficial.
Vincent Goodwill: Nikola Mirotic said the plan is to play this week. He’s lost about 5-6 pounds from this summer, said his conditioning has improved
Mike McGraw: Nikola Mirotic is sitting at his locker at the United Center. First time he’s attended a regular season game this season. #Bulls
“It’s great having [Nikola Mirotic] back on the floor,” agreed Hoiberg. “Just looking at where we are right now, getting Zach back with full contact and David is going to try to do a little bit in practice and then getting Niko back on the floor with us is a very important step. As far as what he can provide on the floor, he’s had some really good moments in this league and given us some great production. Getting him back out here is certainly a step in the right direction. The plan is for him to do some contact and see how he responds and then put a plan together from there.”
KC Johnson: Nikola Mirotic is practicing today, won’t address reporters.
Vincent Goodwill: Fred Hoiberg said Mirotic won’t play tomorrow but will make the trip to Denver later this week
There was, however, progress. Coach Fred Hoiberg said Mirotic continued to ‘‘ramp up his activity’’ and was doing a better job of communicating with his other teammates. ‘‘Niko had a really good week of workouts,’’ Hoiberg said. ‘‘He’s continuing to ramp up his activity. He had good strength workouts and he’s increasing his workload on the floor, so we’re hoping to get him back with the team shortly.’’
KC Johnson: Hoiberg: Mirotic won’t travel on 4-game trip that starts Sunday in Phoenix.
Fred Hoiberg said it hasn’t yet been determined whether Nikola Mirotic will travel on the Bulls’ four-game trip that begins Sunday in Phoenix. What is settled is who will be the starting power forward when Mirotic is physically cleared to play. “I would say Lauri (Markkanen) is our starter moving forward,” Hoiberg said.
KC Johnson: Pax: “Both Niko and Bobby are on our roster right now. And Niko’s getting cleared to do more and more. This obviously is coming to a position where it’s going to have to be resolved between the two.” Reminder: Mirotic can’t be traded until Jan. 15.
KC Johnson: Bulls initially said Mirotic would miss 4-6 weeks. Tomorrow is 4 weeks. Pax: “The timeline for him getting back is all how he’s feeling and recovering from what he went through. He obviously has to get his conditioning up to a level that he needs to. That’s all a process.”
Vincent Goodwill: Nikola Mirotic is in the building. John Paxson said Niko hasn’t had contact with Bobby Portis, won’t say if the trade request has been rescinded
KC Johnson: Hoiberg said Mirotic did shooting for first time today.
Meanwhile, though he is free of his concussion symptoms, Nikola Mirotic remains weeks away from returning from the two facial fractures that Bobby Portis caused with a punch to the face during an Oct. 17 altercation between the forwards in practice. Mirotic remains upset enough over the disparity in time of absences that he has had little contact with teammates, and his camp has made clear to management that, for now, it doesn’t see a way the two forwards can coexist.
Hoiberg says Mirotic hasn’t done any on court work, but was able to do some rehab work in the pool recently. Hoiberg says Mirotic is in good spirits — it remains to be seen when he will work out with all his teammates again.
Mirotic has yet to change his stance on not wanting to play with Bobby Portis after Portis punched him in the face during an Oct. 17 practice altercation. That gave Mirotic a concussion, two facial fractures and a recovery period of up to two months.
Hoiberg wouldn’t answer whether he thinks, based on his conversations with Mirotic that included a phone call Friday, that he’s still upset with Portis. “It’s something we’re going to take it day-by-day,” Hoiberg said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see him (Saturday) and go from there. I know he’s going to continue to come in and get his treatment.”
KC Johnson: More Mirotic: Hoiberg talked to him by phone today after 3rd day of workouts. No more headaches after activity. Meets w/ doctor in 2 weeks.
KC Johnson: Hoiberg on Mirotic: “He said he’s watching all games and loves the effort guys are playing with. He’s been very positive in conversations.”
KC Johnson: Hoiberg said Mirotic timeline remains same even tho no surgery. It’s been 2 weeks. So another 2-4 at least.
Mike McGraw: Hoiberg said Nikola Mirotic will work out at Advocate Center today after team leaves for Miami. #Bulls pic.twitter.com/84bJtsTNY2
Vincent Goodwill: Nikola Mirotic has not been back to the facility for the supervised activity he’s been cleared for. Hoiberg said maybe Sunday or Monday
KC Johnson: Justin Holiday: Bobby came in, worked hard like he always does. I reached out to Niko too. Make sure he knows he’s supported.
Fred Hoiberg says he has texted with Niko Mirotic. He says Mirotic is still sore after sustaining injuries in fight with Portis. It remains unclear when Mirotic will be able to return to practice.
KC Johnson: Paxson said doctors feel surgery best but up to Niko.
KC Johnson: Bulls suspend Portis 8 games.
KC Johnson: Bulls say Portis can practice during suspension.
Josh Lewenberg: Dwane Casey on player fights when he was an assistant in Seattle… So, Gary Payton and…? “We had some doozies in Seattle, I’ll tell you what, some fisticuffs. One that started on the court and went in the weight room and went outside, come back in. It was a long one. I’ve seen those. The good thing about that, the people that were involved in that were able to come back together and bond back together, which is the hard part. You can’t let what happened yesterday come into tomorrow or next week or next month or hold it inside. That’s the trick and luckily in Seattle we had some of those but guys were able to get back together and maintain the team chemistry.”
Chicago Bulls: “We anticipate Niko being out 4-6 weeks, but needs to clear concussion protocol.” – John Paxson
KC Johnson: Bulls say exec VP John Paxson will address reporters, then Fred Hoiberg & Robin Lopez. Portis not at practice facility. Suspension imminent.
KC Johnson: But internal view is incident involved blame on both sides. Situation escalated over several possessions during scrimmage. 2/2
KC Johnson: As reported yesterday, Portis will be suspended after Bulls conclude standard policy of communication with league office. What factor this plays in suspension is unknown & obviously can’t throw punch. But Portis widely regarded for work ethic, commitment to team.
A source who spoke to Mirotic after he was released from the hospital said the forward suffered two fractures and placed an early estimate for his absence at “a few weeks, at least.” He possibly will have to wear a mask upon that return.
In their statement, the Bulls said they are “evaluating disciplinary action.” But a source said the team is merely following protocol for all such incidents by communicating with the league office and that Portis will be suspended for multiple games.
According to several witnesses, tensions heightened between Portis and Mirotic during a competitive scrimmage. Several words were exchanged over trips up and down the court. Some shoving escalated matters and Mirotic once moved in Portis’ direction. And then Portis landed the lone punch, which placed Mirotic on the ground for several minutes before his hospital trip.
Vincent Goodwill: Mirotic does have a concussion and broken bones in his face. Expect Bobby Portis’ suspension to be significant
Mike McGraw: #Bulls confirm Portis-Mirotic altercation at today’s practice; said Mirotic suffered concussion and maxillary fractures, out indefinitely.
Jeff Zillgitt: Re: Mirotic-Portis altercation, it was two guys fighting for position that turned into altercation, I’m told.
Vincent Goodwill: This has been three years in the making, a source said. Mirotic has broken bones in his face, apparently instigated, and Portis punched him
Darnell Mayberry: Mirotic is out indefinitely…Bulls are evaluating disciplinary action. Suspension for Ports likely. Hearing league office is now involved.
KC Johnson: Mirotic is home after going to hospital. He has 2 broken bones in his face and was evaluated for concussion, per source. Punched by Portis.
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March 24, 2019 | 11:05 am EDT Update
Adam Wexler: #Rockets recall Gary Clark from @RGVVipers. He was (+26) in their west clinching win last night. They’re top seed in West for playoffs which begin this week. Rockets at Pelicans, tonight at 6.
Murray State star Ja Morant will wait to make an announcement on whether he plans to enter the NBA draft after his team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament Saturday. “That time will come,” Morant said. “My focus is not on that right now. It’s just celebrating this — what a great season we had — with my teammates.” Morant is widely projected to be a top-three pick in this year’s draft, should he choose to forgo his final two years of college eligibility.
According to multiple sources, some high profile international candidates are being or have been considered. David Blatt, an American who coached the Russian national team as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers, was first choice but may have pulled out due to back problems. Former Italian national team head coach and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina is also being interviewed. A complicating factor? Financial challenges at Canada Basketball mean that the money being offered for the role is minimal or perhaps not even more than an honorarium covering expenses.
Meanwhile, a number of Canadian coaches are not impressed that Triano has been put in a situation where he has to effectively re-apply for his own job. “I know he was under the impression last summer that he was the head coach and hadn’t heard anything differently until recently,” said one source. “The way this has played out is disrespectful. He’s either your coach or he’s not.”
March 24, 2019 | 7:25 am EDT Update
Players, coaches and management all have insisted on how important center Robin Lopez has been to the rebuild, so much so that the Bulls didn’t want to buy him out the last month for the stretch run. With Lopez facing free agency this summer, and staring at a backup role with the Bulls if he does return, what are the chances that the mutual admiration brings him back? “Robin has been terrific for us,’’ Paxson said. “We’ll keep an open mind on that, absolutely.’’