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.
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.
🔥 Top Videos from Around B/R 🔥