The Bulls‘ disappointing season has taken another unfortunate turn, as the team announced today in a press release that starting power forward Lauri Markkanen will be sidelined for the next four-to-six weeks. According to the team, an MRI on Markkanen’s hip revealed an early stress reaction of his right pelvis.
The seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft, Markkanen had a strong rookie season, but didn’t take a major step forward in his second season and has leveled off in his third year. His 15.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, .424 FG%, and .344 3PT% in 46 games in 2019/20 are all career lows.
This is also the third consecutive season that Markkanen has battled health problems. He was limited to 68 games in his first year, then missed 30 total games at the start and end of last season due to an elbow injury and a heart issue.
The 22-year-old will become extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, so even if Chicago falls out of the playoff race, he’ll want to return sometime after the All-Star break and finish the season strong. Currently, the 17-29 Bulls are 2.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Nets.
With Markkanen, starting center Wendell Carter, and rookie big man Daniel Gafford all on the shelf, the Bulls’ frontcourt depth will be tested. The team figures to lean heavily on Luke Kornet, Thaddeus Young, and Cristiano Felicio for the time being.