CHICAGO — Just two days before the Chicago Bulls open the 2017-2018 NBA season in Toronto, they have even more problems than they had this morning. Word surfaced this afternoon that Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis were involved in a “serious altercation” today in practice that resulted in Niko in the hospital this evening.
According to multiple sources, Nikola Mirotic instigated the dispute between the two teammates and Bobby Portis punched Mirotic in the face. Early reports have indicated that Mirotic suffered two broken bones in his face and was being evaluated for a concussion as a result of the punch from Portis.
Mirotic has been ruled out “indefinitely”, and some reports have Mirotic missing “a few weeks”.
The team has not confirmed the altercation or made a public statement as of yet this evening. The Bulls were already set to open the season with a thin roster as Zach LaVine is shelved until December as he recovers from an ACL injury that he suffered last season as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
NBC Sports Chicago Bulls’ insider Vincent Goodwill Tweeted this evening that the feud between Mirotic and Portis has been “three years in the making”. Yet another blemish on the Bulls as an organization and a huge blow to their lineup to start the season.
The Bulls’ front office and coaching staff has been under fire from the fan base after they made multiple questionable trades in their effort to hit the reset button and dismantle a once promising roster built around former Bull Jimmy Butler. With Mirotic out for the first couple of weeks of the season, and Bobby Portis likely facing discipline for the punch that sidelined Mirotic, the Bulls will be incredibly shorthanded when they open the season on Thursday night in Toronto.
We will have further information on the incident and what the Bulls lineup will look like on Thursday night as more information becomes available.