You may have thought it was all over when Otto Porter Jr. got smacked with a wave of never-ending MRIs – or maybe when both Wendell Carter Jr. and his surprisingly productive and exciting replacement Daniel Gafford went down – but if it wasn’t time then, it sure is now.
Pack it in, boys, the season is over:
Lauri Markkanen underwent an MRI of his right hip at Rush Hospital on Jan. 23 which revealed an early stress reaction of his right pelvis. Following a period of rest, Markkanen will resume basketball related activities with a full return anticipated in 4-6 weeks.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 24, 2020
We just started to get even more excited about Markkanen’s rebound this season, as the type and timing of his most productive usage became clearer (and his numbers improved), but like everything about being a Bulls fan in 2020, we’re not allowed to have nice things.
Our details are limited for now, but we do know that Markkanen underwent an MRI of his right hip yesterday, which revealed a stress reaction in his right pelvis. According to the Bulls, he’ll rest for a while, resume some basketball related activities, ideally returning in full in about a month and a half.
The most optimistic timeline, then, would have him missing about 14 of the Bulls 37 remaining games. More realistically, however, we might be looking at the next 29 or so games without him (roughly two months). And at a certain point, depending on where the Bulls are in the standings (I think we all know where that’ll be) you wonder if it’s worth rushing him back this season at all.
Like I said, we just can’t have nice things:
Otto Porter Jr
Wendell Carter Jr
Since Otto Porter was acquired a year ago, Bulls' four-man core has played 9 of a possible 74 games together. 9. https://t.co/cH8Y73WOwm
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) January 24, 2020
Not all injuries can be linked to the training or coaching staff – indeed, the player acquisition department plays a role in that – but at a certain point, with such chronic, continuous injuries, you have to take a look at updating or improving those facilities/teams/processes/etc.
Additional Thoughts: With Carter Jr., Gafford, Porter Jr. and now Markkanen out, the Bulls are going to have to lean on Thad Young much more (or possibly allow Gafford to try PF, when he returns). Of course, as we know, Young is arguably their most attractive and desired trade bait, which could appear to make things complicated.
But they aren’t complicated.
If anything, this is even more reason to make sure you trade Young before the deadline on February 6. Maybe, in a different timeline, this Bulls squad had a chance at surprising with a competitive team, sneaking into the playoffs and having a little fun along the way. That is out the window now. Trade Young. Trade Valentine. Trade whomever you have to and start planning for next season.
And hopefully, start planning to replace the planners, as well.