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Bulls’ Denzel Valentine to miss 1-2 weeks with tweaked ankle

Denzel Valentine, Bulls

Chicago Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine is slated to miss one-to-two weeks after tweaking his left ankle during Tuesday’s practice, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. This is the same ankle that required surgery in May 2017 to repair damage after two sprains during his rookie season.

“Denzel tweaked his ankle a little bit on the first day. He tried to go through it the second day,” Hoiberg said. “We just decided the smart thing to do right now is hold him out of practice and re-evaluate him in about a week.”

Head coach Fred Hoiberg also said young frontcourt studs Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. were held out of Friday’s practice with minor injuries. Markkanen tweaked his right elbow and Carter fell on his left shoulder.

These type of injuries aren’t ideal, but they’re common considering this is the first real giddy-up of the NBA season, as players go from non-contact activities to full-contact play, hoping to gear into shape for the preseason.

Valentine is unlikely to be a starter heading into his second season in the league, but he will surely vie for key rotation minutes after shooting 38.6 percent from 3-point range last season. He will compete with new Bull Jabari Parker and other wings on the roster like Justin Holiday and Chandler Hutchison.

“Denzel is a very important part of this team. He’s a guy we used a lot in the second unit as a facilitator,” Hoiberg said. “When we went on a run, he was starting for a portion of that stretch. He makes the right play and he can make a shot and he’s got good skill level. And he knows where to be.”

Valentine will be reincorporated into the rotation when he comes back from injury, but his minutes will likely take longer to go back to normal as the Bulls hope to play it safe with a previously worrisome injury.