CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine and stretch forward Nikola Mirotic will practice with the G-League team this week and won't travel to Denver.
LaVine is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves while Mirotic isn't cleared to play after sustaining facial fractures from the punch he took from teammate Bobby Portis.
“The plan right now is we’re going to actually practice them with the Windy City team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters today after shootaround. “We’ll have them come to the Advocate Center and get a couple really good solid hard practices in with them. That’s important for those guys right now. We just don’t have a lot of practice time with all the games we’re playing on top of each other. So we’ll utilize the Windy City situation as much as possible. They should be able to get quality workouts."
Mirotic has been practicing with the team but is still avoiding Portis and has not reconnected with him. Hoiberg says he's hoping the two will communicate on the floor and that it will carry over to off the court.
LaVine, meanwhile, is taking more and more contact as each day passes and on track to return in late December. The high-flyer has been teasing teammates and Bulls fans by showing off his incredible vertical in practices lately.
Hoiberg says the coaching staff loves what they've seen from LaVine and are excited to get him more comfortable.
“He’s had three really good days with us since he’s been cleared for full contact,” Hoiberg said. “It started out in San Francisco. He was able to play 3-on-3. Then he came back and had a really good 1-on-1 session. But when you get out there 5-on-5, you have to be in the right spots offensively and defensively. It’s a whole new thing for him. It’s not just about obviously getting the knee where it needs to be. I think everybody is comfortable with that. Now it’s about getting his timing and conditioning level to where it needs to be where he can go on the floor and not think, which is important in this as well.”
The Bulls host the Phoenix Suns tonight.