Bobby Portis Suspended 8 Games After Practice Altercation with Nikola Mirotic

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 03: Bobby Portis #5 of the Chicago Bulls drives against Darius Miller #21 of the New Orleans Pelicans during a preseason game at the Smoothie King Center on October 3, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls' 2017-18 season took an unexpected turn before it even tipped off, and forward Bobby Portis was suspended Wednesday as a result.

Portis was suspended eight games by the team, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Chicago opens the 2017-18 season Thursday with a road game against the Toronto Raptors

The punishment comes after Portis and forward Nikola Mirotic had a "physical altercation" during Tuesday's practice, per a statement from the Bulls. The Vertical's Shams Charania reported Mirotic was hospitalized in the aftermath after an "alleged surprise punch from Portis" to his face.

The team's statement also confirmed Mirotic suffered "a concussion and maxillary fractures" and will likely need surgery.

Chicago selected Portis with the No. 22 overall pick in 2015. Considering this is a rebuilding season for the Bulls, it was assumed the 22-year-old would have the opportunity to prove himself as a potential centerpiece in the near future.

He averaged 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a rookie and followed up with 6.8 points and 4.6 boards a night in 2016-17. While his scoring was slightly down in his second season, he was more efficient at 48.8 percent shooting from the field compared to 42.7 percent in his first campaign.

With Mirotic out for the foreseeable future and Portis now suspended, attention will turn to rookie Lauri Markkanen at the power forward spot. The No. 7 overall pick was part of the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and, like Portis, could be a critical part of Chicago's future contending efforts.

Portis will be eligible to return for the Bulls' ninth game of the season against the Raptors on Nov. 7. 

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