In Brief

Chicago Bulls suspend Bobby Portis for breaking Nikola Mirotic’s jaw

Basketball player is banned for eight NBA matches after ‘inexcusable’ punch in practice

The Chicago Bulls’ preparations for the new NBA season have been rocked after Bobby Portis was given an eight-match suspension for breaking a teammate’s jaw during a fight in training. 

After being punched on Tuesday, the Bulls’ Spanish player Nikola Mirotic suffered a broken jaw and concussion. Bleacher Report says he will miss four to six weeks because of his injuries.

In a statement issued after the incident, the Bulls said: “Chicago Bulls forwards Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic had a physical altercation during today’s practice. 

“As a result of the incident, Mirotic suffered a concussion and maxillary fractures. Surgery is likely required.”

Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said the incident was “inexcusable”.

“Both players owned responsibility in the incident itself but only one player threw a punch,” he said. “And that punch connected. For us, that is inexcusable. It’s not who we are. It disappoints us.” 

Paxson also spoke out in defence of the player. “Bobby Portis is not a bad person. He’s a good kid. He’s a competitive kid,” he said. “But in this instance, he made a mistake. And as we all know when you make mistakes, you have to suffer the consequences.” 

The Bulls start their season in the early hours of tomorrow morning when they travel to the Toronto Raptors (12.30am start).

Meanwhile Gordon Hayward has recorded a video message to fans from his hospital bed after his horrific injury during his debut for the Boston Celtics.

The $128million (£97m) small forward suffered a dislocated ankle and a fractured left tibia against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. He wished his team and fans good luck before today’s match against the Milwaukee Bucks, which the Celtics lost 108-100.

ESPN reports that Hayward has had surgery, which his agent Mark Bartelstein says was a success. Although Hayward is likely to miss the rest of the season, Bartelstein expects him to make “a full recovery and return to his All-Star form”.

Tomorrow’s NBA fixtures

  • Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors (12.30am) 
  • New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder (1am) 
  • Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (3.30am)

Saturday’s NBA fixtures (12am unless stated)

  • Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets 
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks 
  • Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards 
  • Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers 
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Indiana Pacers 
  • Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets (12.30am) 
  • Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves (1am) 
  • Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks (1.30am) 
  • Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans (2.30am) 
  • Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns (3am)

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