Bulls' Nikola Mirotic Out Indefinitely After Getting Punched By Teammate Bobby Portis In Practice 'Altercation'
By Stephen Gossett in News on Oct 18, 2017 1:00AM
Nikola Mirotic #44 of the Chicago Bulls (foreground) puts up a shot past of Derrick Williams #23 of the New York Knicks in 2016. Photo: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images
We knew the Bulls' season would be ugly, but it's already firmly in grim territory before regular-season play has even begun. Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic is out indefinitely after a practice altercation between he and teammate Bobby Portis escalated, reportedly culminating with Portis punching Mirotic in the face.
Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures, and he'll likely need surgery, the Bulls said in a statement on Tuesday evening. The team said it is evaluating disciplinary options.
The story was first reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo's The Vertical. Mirotic ended up hospitalized after their "shoving altercation" culminated with "an alleged surprise punch" by Portis, Charania wrote.
Sources: Bulls forwards Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic were involved in serious altercation in practice today, leaving Mirotic hospitalized and out indefinitely. Story coming.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 17, 2017
The Bulls didn't provide a timetable for Mirotic's return, but a source told KC Johnson of the Tribune that he could be sidelined for as many as three weeks.
Mirotic suffered two broken facial bones, according to the Tribune.
As the Ringer pointed out, ESPN's Bobby Marks noted that contracts could allow a team to sever ties "if a physical attack is committed"—although there's been no indication yet that the Bulls would take quite such a drastic measure.
Section 16 (ii) allows the team to terminate a contract if a physical attack is committed to any official or employee of the team.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 17, 2017
Whatever comes next, one thing seems certain: the rebuild will indeed not be pretty.
Although as some fans noted on Tuesday night, similar run-ins did happen during the Bulls' salad days in the 90s, too. Consider that your silver lining!
This post has been updated.