Otto Porter Jr. will be watching from the sidelines on Saturday night with another injury, and the Chicago Bulls aren’t sure when their forward will be ready to return.
Porter, who suffered a foot injury in Chicago’s 113-93 win against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, was officially ruled out of their game on Saturday against the Houston Rockets with a left foot sprain.
Bulls coach Jim Boylen said it was a soft tissue injury, making it hard for him to speculate on a timetable for Porter’s return.
“I don’t want to give you a definite timetable because it could be sooner or longer than maybe we see,” Boylen said, via ESPN. “I know that’s vague, and I’m sorry for that, but that’s the kind of injury it is.”
Porter left Chicago’s game on Wednesday against the Hawks early with what the team then called a foot contusion, though he put up 13 points and four rebounds in the first half.
The 26-year-old has averaged 11.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game this year for the Bulls, his seventh in the league. His production has been up as of late, too, having dropped 22 points in their six-point win against the Detroit Pistons last Friday and adding 18 points in their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
He has also dealt with a minor ankle injury already this season, and needed six stitches for a cut in his mouth last month.
Boylen hopes that Porter will miss minimal time, and could possibly be good to go again next week. This early in the season, however, he’s not willing to risk anything.
“Because of the soft tissue, these are things that maybe it settles down in 24 to 48 hours,” Boylen said, via ESPN. “Maybe it doesn’t. That’s where the uncertainty comes in where it’s difficult to put a timetable on.
“So yes, it did not settle down like maybe we had hoped other injuries have. We’re not taking any chances with him, or anybody. We’ll manage him accordingly and support him in the appropriate way.”
Chandler Hutchinson is expected to start in Porter’s place. The 23-year-old — who the Bulls took in the first round of the 2018 draft — has averaged seven points and 3.5 rebounds in two appearances off the bench this season, having dealt with a strained hamstring to start the year.
“His length and athleticism is something that helps us,” Boylen said, via NBC Sports. “He does have a feel for how we want to play in the multihandler system. He can guard multiple positions. I think in general his versatility is a big asset for us. He’s very coachable and takes great ownership of his play. We all know he’s a high-character player.”
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