The Chicago Bulls suspended forward Bobby Portis for the first eight games of the season Wednesday for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight at practice.
Mirotic suffered broken bones in his face as well as a concussion on Tuesday and will likely need surgery. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said Mirotic is expected to miss four to six weeks, and that he needs to clear the concussion protocol before the facial injuries can be treated.
Paxson acknowledged fault on both sides while calling the incident “inexcusable.” He also called Portis “a good kid” who “made a mistake.”
It certainly was not what the rebuilding Bulls wanted heading into the season opener at Toronto on Thursday night. The incident takes two more players out of their rotation, with newcomer Zach LaVine also missing the start of the season as he works his way back from a torn knee ligament he sustained with Minnesota.
A 2015 first-round pick out of Arkansas, Portis has averaged 6.9 points and five rebounds. He will be allowed to practice with the team while he is suspended.
Mirotic averaged 10.8 points over his first three seasons with Chicago. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September. The club holds an option on the second season.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green underwent an MRI exam on his strained left knee and his status for an upcoming road trip is unclear. Golden State expected to release results of the test Wednesday or early Thursday prior to departing for a game Friday at New Orleans. Green got hurt in the closing seconds of the third quarter of Tuesday’s season-opening 122-121 home loss to Houston when he drove left to the basket, took an off-balanced shot and landed awkwardly. He came up hobbling and grabbing at his knee. …
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says Gordon Hayward is expected to make a full recovery from the gruesome injury he sustained in the team’s opener. They just don’t know how long it will take yet. Stevens told reporters before the Celtics’ home opener against Milwaukee that Hayward has a dislocated ankle and broken tibia. He is expected to have surgery soon, but it hasn’t been scheduled yet. Stevens says he isn’t sure if Hayward will be able to return this season. …
Houston guard Chris Paul is questionable for the Rockets’ game in Sacramento on Wednesday night because of left knee soreness. Paul had four points and shot 2 for 9 in the Rockets’ season-opening win at Golden State on Tuesday. He led the Rockets with 11 assists and also grabbed eight rebounds, while playing 33 minutes in his regular-season debut with Houston after being traded away by the Los Angeles Clippers during the offseason. Paul was hampered at the end of the preseason by the knee pain.