Chicago Bulls rookie Nikola Mirotic suffered multiple injuries late in the Bulls’ 91-82 Game 2 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, and it’s looking unlikely that Mirotic will suit up for Game 3 on Thursday, according to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau gave a status update on the rookie forward, and while there’s no exact timetable for his strained left quad and swollen left knee, Thibodeau didn’t seem all that optimistic:
“We’ll see,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said after Tuesday’s film session. “It’s going to be a few days. We want to see how he responds to treatment and then we’ll go from there. He’s sore today, that’s to be expected, but we’ll know better after a few days of treatment.”
The injuries occurred during a scrum with Bucks big man Zaza Pachulia in the fourth quarter of Game 2. Mirotic also banged knees with O.J. Mayo during the sequence. Mirotic and Pachulia both received technical fouls for going after each other, with Pachulia getting ejected for picking up his second technical of the night. Mirotic immediately left the game because of his injuries and limped to the locker room minutes later.
The Bulls are hoping Mirotic won’t miss much time, because he has become a key part of their rotation over the past few months after getting inconsistent minutes early in the year. The rookie was the team’s go-to guy in March when Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler were hurt, putting up nearly 21 points per game in the month, and Chicago has played some of its best basketball with him on the court this season.
Mirotic hasn’t shot well in the series against the Bucks, averaging 6.5 points while shooting 35.7 percent overall and 33.3 percent from three, but the Bulls have functioned better with him on the floor and hold a 2-0 lead. Chicago can probably afford to have Mirotic rest up the remainder of the series, but he’ll be needed in the likely matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round.