Bulls News: Denzel Valentine to Undergo Ankle Surgery, Out for Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

Chicago Bulls forward Denzel Valentine is seen during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Guard Denzel Valentine will not take the court for the Chicago Bulls during the 2018-19 season.

On Monday, the Bulls announced he was diagnosed with ongoing ankle instability that will require surgery. While he is expected to fully recover, he will be out of action for four to six months after missing the team's first 17 games of the campaign.

It has been a disastrous 4-13 start for Chicago without Valentine and Lauri Markkanen, who is yet to play because of an elbow injury.

The Bulls selected Valentine with the No. 14 pick in the 2016 draft out of Michigan State, but he has yet to live up to expectations typically bestowed upon a top-15 selection. He averaged 8.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three-point range in his first two seasons.

He hasn't been much better defensively either, seeing how opponents shot 2.3 percent better than their normal averages when he guarded them last season, per NBA.com.

Given Chicago's position in the standings, there is no need to rush him back at this point. This season is more about the development of young pieces such as Wendell Carter Jr., Markkanen (when he returns) and Zach LaVine rather than competing for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, and the expected losses will only help in terms of draft positioning.

Valentine will look to bolster his own development on the court during the 2019-20 season after this setback.