Nikola Mirotic has had a disappointing season. Call it a shooting slump, a crisis of confidence, maybe he’s just not that good, whatever the reason he has not been the stretch four offensive force Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg had wanted him to be. That said, he had a quality 17-point game in the win over Cleveland, then bounced back with 15 in the loss to Miami. Maybe he was starting to turn the season around.
Now comes another setback.
Mirotic was diagnosed with an acute appendicitis, and an appendectomy was performed Wednesday at Rush University Medical Center, the team announced. He is expected to be out until after the All-Star break.
Mirotic had been selected to play for the world team in the Rising Stars Challenge All-Star Weekend in Toronto (you know, the old rookie/sophomore game), but he clearly can no longer do that. The league will need to replace him on the roster.
This could also could keep the Bulls from trading one of their big men at the deadline, as had been expected around the league. As Marc Stein of ESPN noted, now both Mirotic and Joakim Noah are out injured until the trade deadline, making the Bulls hesitant to move someone like Taj Gibson in a deal.