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Denzel Valentine will likely miss all of preseason with ankle injury

Denzel Valentine

Chicago Bulls small forward Denzel Valentine is likely to miss all of the team’s preseason games due to an ankle injury, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

“Fred Hoiberg said Denzel Valentine isn’t ready to practice yet because of left ankle injury. Hoiberg wouldn’t admit to this but it’s more likely than not Valentine will miss all 5 preseason games.”

Valentine, the Bulls’ lottery pick in 2016, already encountered a lot of problems in his left ankle. He sprained the same ankle twice when he was a rookie, the reason why he opted for a surgery last year.

Despite the injury setbacks he endured in his rookie season, the 24-year old scorer bounced back big time during his sophomore year. He doubled his production by putting up 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and an excellent 39% clip from beyond the arc. The Michigan State product is highly-esteemed for his scoring and his knack to be a do-it-all playmaker.

However, he had his own share of defensive woes last year. It is an obvious concern for the Bulls, per Michael Walton of NBC Sports.

“The front office will also want him to show at least minimal improvement on defense, which should be possible with the Bulls’ new switch-heavy system hopefully keeping him more engaged on that end. His foot-speed isn’t going to increase overnight, but with a slightly better effort at that end, Valentine could work his way towards starter status sooner than many think.”

The Bulls, who are heavily-thin on the small forward slot, should rely on Valentine to provide quality minutes either as a starter or a sixth man this season.