The Chicago Bulls frontcourt continues to be decimated by injury and now, perhaps the team’s most promising big will also be sidelined with an injury of his own. The team announced Friday that forward Lauri Markkanen is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks after an MRI Thursday revealed a stress reaction of his right pelvis.
Markkanen now joins a slew of banged-up Bulls, namely key members of their frontcourt rotation. Starters Otto Porter and Wendell Carter Jr. have both also been sidelined for multiple weeks. Porter has been inactive since early November with a foot injury while a sprained ankle has kept Carter Jr. out of action since Jan. 6. Carter Jr. is still expected to miss approximately three more weeks while there is currently no timetable for Porter’s return.
Now with Markannen also set to miss at least a month, Chicago will have to fare without their three starting frontcourt members. To make matters even more dire for the Bulls, rookie center Daniel Gafford is also dealing with a dislocated thumb and hasn’t been active in over a week.
The Bulls continue to be hit with blow after blow when some believed Chicago could be a fringe playoff team coming into the season. Instead, they’ve compiled a pedestrian 17-30 record and are ravaged by the injury bug. Chicago will have to continue relying on veteran forward Thaddeus Young along with Luke Kornet to hold down the majority of their frontcourt minutes while Denzel Valentine and Cristiano Felicio could also see expanded roles off the bench.
For Lauri Markkanen and the Bulls alike, this season has been nothing short of a disappointment. The Finnish 7-footer is posting the lowest numbers of his three-year career and doing so inefficiently. Markkanen is averaging fewer points, rebounds and blocks than even his rookie season in 2017 and his shooting percentages from the three-point and free-throw line have also both dropped.
There’s still plenty to be optimistic about when it comes to Markkanen and his long-term potential, but the dip in efficiency combined with his latest injury can’t be encouraging for the Bulls. On the season, Markkanen is averaging 15 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game through 46 appearances.