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Fight Between Teammates Sends One Bulls Mainstay to the Hospital

Nikola Mirotic suffered a broken bone in his face during a scuffle with Bobby Portis in practice

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo/USA Today

Just over an hour before the NBA season tipped off, Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic were involved in a scuffle in practice that resulted in Portis hitting Mirotic with an “alleged cheap shot” that sent Mirotic to the hospital. The Bulls announced soon after that Mirotić suffered a concussion and a broken jaw that will likely require surgery and keep him out four to six weeks. On Wednesday, the team suspended Portis for eight games.

The Bulls are heading into a rebuilding season that figures to be quite ugly on the court. Apparently, they couldn’t wait for the fun to begin. Portis channeling his inner Jerry Stackhouse in a random preseason practice robs them of one of the few capable hands they had in the first place.

The hit could cost them more than just one key frontcourt contributor. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, there is a clause in an NBA contract that could allow a team to cut a player “if a physical attack is committed.”

Yikes. Portis, the Bulls’ first-round pick in 2015, showed some flashes during his rookie season but plateaued a bit during his follow-up. Still, he’s young and talented, and the Bulls will take as many of those players as they can get.

This piece was updated after publication.