Sorry, Bulls fans, but the Lauri Markkanen show has been postponed for a few weeks.
For Chicago Bulls fans who were heavily anticipating the start of their team’s 2018-19 season, they took a minor punch to the gut on Friday when the news broke of Lauri Markkanen’s elbow injury.
Markkanen, the 21-year-old basketball phenom from Finland, suffered an injury to his right elbow in practice on Thursday. An MRI showed that he sustained a high grade lateral sprain that is expected to keep him out of action for anywhere from six to eight weeks.
With the Bulls tipping off their season on Oct. 18 in Philadelphia, this means Markkanen will miss roughly the first month of the regular season, maybe two.
Last season was a difficult one for Chicago fans, as the rebuilding Bulls won just 27 games. It was their first losing season in 10 years, and it was the first time the Bulls had lost 50 or more games since 2004.
Chicago then selected promising young forward Wendell Carter Jr. seventh overall out of Duke. With some young talent on the team that includes Carter, Markkanen and two-time Slam Dunk champion Zach LaVine, fans were hoping that this would be a turn-around season in which the Bulls could possibly make a push for a playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference.
But unfortunately, the news that Markkanen will miss some time quickly cleans all of the air out of the room. Markkanen is arguably the most exciting young Bulls prospect since Derrick Rose almost a decade ago. As a rookie last year, he averaged 15.2 points per game with a .434 shooting average, while also averaging 7.5 rebounds.
But look on the bright side, Bulls fans. It’s only 6-8 weeks. At least it wasn’t a torn ACL, which would’ve sidelined Markkanen for the entire year. At least it wasn’t a broken ankle like Boston’s Gordon Hayward suffered in last year’s season opener, ending his season before it even started.
Markkanen will be back on the court before you know it, if you can just power through these next few weeks.