Sunday, April 14 2024

Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic is expected to miss an unspecified amount of time with a strained left groin, coach Billy Donovan said Tuesday. His left adductor contusion is reportedly nothing serious.

Vucevic had an MRI exam after suffering the injury in Saturday’s 109-95 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The two-time All-Star fell to the floor after being dunked on by Cavaliers forward Max Strus.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Bulls hold 23rd-ranked odds to win this season’s championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Indiana Pacers.

Through 31 starts this season, the 6-foot-10 big man is averaging 16.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 34 minutes per game. Plus, he’s shooting 45.2% from the floor and a career-best 87.5% at the foul line.

In Chicago’s 120-113 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 20, he recorded a season-high 29 points on 11-of-21 (52.4%) shooting from the field. Vecevic, 33, hasn’t missed a game since the regular-season finale in the 2021-22 season.

Chicago Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic (left adductor contusion) will miss time, Zach Lavine (foot) remains out

“A lot of it is going to be how he responds to rehab,” Donovan told reporters. “He obviously was pretty sore after [Saturday’s] game and obviously over Christmas.”

During the offseason, Vucevic signed a three-year, $60 million contract extension with the Bulls. The USC product is earning $18.51 million this season and is slated to make $20 million in 2024-25.

His deal also includes a $21.48 million salary for 2025-26. If the Bulls decide to trade him and Zach LaVine, Vucevic cannot be dealt until this Thursday. The trade restriction clause in his new contract prohibits an early departure.

Moreover, Donovan said the Bulls will play “somewhat small” with Patrick Williams receiving minutes at center in Vucevic’s absence. Chicago is still without LaVine (foot inflammation) and Torrey Craig (foot sprain) as well.

The Bulls announced last week that Craig would miss approximately eight to 10 weeks because of an acute sprain of his right plantar fascia. Craig, 33, injured his foot during the second quarter of a 118-116 loss at Miami on Dec. 16.

Source: Basketball Insider

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