Chicago Bulls shooting guard Denzel Valentine will be out for the season following surgery on his left ankle, the team announced Wednesday.
Valentine has remained upbeat in spite of the news.
"When I come back, it’s going to be a brand new ankle,” Valentine said, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve been pretty much having ankle issues ever since my rookie year, so I mean, I think I’m going to be fine. I think I’m going to take my game to another level because I’m going to be more stable in my ankle.
"It will take a whole year, get my body right, which I haven’t been able to do since college, really. I’ve just been on the go, on the go, on the go, so it could be a blessing in disguise is how I have to look at it.”
Valentine averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 77 games last season, his second in the league. He missed the final two weeks of the regular season after having surgery on his left knee.
The Bulls drafted Valentine out of Michigan State with the No. 14 overall pick in 2016.
Valentine said he’s “fully confident” that he’ll eventually return to 100 percent, adding he’s not sure he has ever actually been 100 percent healthy during his NBA career up until this point.