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Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen expected to return to full practice Tuesday

Lauri Markkanen

Chicago Bulls sophomore forward Lauri Markkanen is getting closer to his comeback. The 21-year-old Markkanen is expected to return to full practice on Tuesday.

The Bulls’ official Twitter account posted head coach Fred Hoiberg’s statement on Markkanen’s status:

“Lauri had a great workout yesterday and responded well today. The plan is to have him fully participate in practice tomorrow. Depending on how he does with that will determine a plan on when he will come back.”

The Finnish stretch forward has been nursing an elbow injury that has forced him to sit out all the team’s games early this season. It was a disappointing setback for the Bulls as the team expects Markkanen to bloom into an All-Star.

Markkanen, who earned a rightful spot on the NBA All-Rookie first team, averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds last season. The Arizona product started in every game he played during his rookie year.

Currently sitting at a lowly 5-15 record, the Bulls definitely need Markkanen’s excellent scoring punch. Bobby Portis, a forward who plays a similar game as Markkanen, is still sidelined by a knee injury he sustained in late October.

However, Markkanen’s return would create a good problem for Hoiberg. With Jabari Parker playing some good basketball right now, it remains to be seen how Hoiberg will partner Markkanen with the former Milwaukee Bucks forward. While Parker could definitely play the wing on offense, he would be a liability defending quicker small forwards.

Even so, a trio of Lauri Markkanen, Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine on offense will be a force to be reckoned with in this league.