Central Notes: Mirotic, Mahinmi, Blatt

The Bulls originally believed Nikola Mirotic would return after the All-Star break, but that timeline is now up in the air after the forward underwent hematoma removal surgery over the weekend, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes. Mirotic was originally out of commission due to an appendectomy he underwent on January 27th. “He’s still in the hospital,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He developed a hematoma, which is a collection of blood, that he had to go back in and have a second surgery to remove. He’s on a liquid diet right now. He’s in quite a bit of pain, but his spirits are OK. Hopefully he’ll get out of the hospital soon and just get him back. As far as a timetable for Niko to get back on the floor, we just don’t know yet. But he had the complication, got it fixed. Hopefully we’ll get him back soon.

It’s still too early to tell,” Hoiberg said, when asked about the post-All-Star break timeline. “We’ll have a better idea once Niko gets out of the hospital and just gradually have to get his strength back. Hopefully he’ll be out in the next day or two, out of the hospital. Hopefully Niko will recover quickly from it, but you got to be careful any time you’re dealing with surgery. Not just one, but two, you got to be a little bit careful.

Here’s more from the NBA’s Central Division:

  • The struggles he’s had dealing with injuries thus far this campaign have Pacers center Ian Mahinmi calling 2015/16 one of his difficult seasons as a pro, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports notes. “Yeah, it’s been a little bit of a tough year as far as injuries [for me],” Mahinmi, a free agent at season’s end, told Agness. “When you look at it, I only missed a few games. I probably missed like, what, five games this year. So overall, it’s not crazy. That’s the behind-the-scenes thing that fans and people that work the game don’t really know about it. How much your body goes through. It goes through a lot. You got to keep playing games, and you got to keep practicing every day. It’s been tough. It’s been one of the toughest years for me. Knock on wood — it hasn’t been anything bad, injury wise.
  • Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith appreciates the opportunity former coach David Blatt gave him in Cleveland and believes Blatt will be a head coach in the league again, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes. “I mean, I think he’s a good coach,” Smith said. “I think he has an opportunity to get another job somewhere. I think somebody will give him a shot given the circumstances. I think before he took the [Cleveland] job, it was pretty much he was going to coach a different team until LeBron James and Kevin Love and everybody came to the situation. So it was kind of weird, I’m sure, for him from the start for him because he was expecting just to have Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson and before you know it, you got all these other guys. So, I think he has a good chance of getting a job somewhere else. It’s just a matter of time.

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