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Lauri Markkanen out up to a month with shoulder injury

Lauri Markkanen, Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have more injury issues in the frontcourt. Wendell Carter Jr. is already on the shelf due to a severe right quad contusion. Now, forward Lauri Markkanen will miss an extended period of time.

The Bulls announced Monday that Markkanen will be out 2-to-4 weeks with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

Markkanen had gotten off to a strong start. The 23-year-old was averaging 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds through his first 14 games, shooting a career-high 51.4 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from deep on 7.2 attempts per game.

But Markkanen left Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic with the shoulder injury, and further testing has confirmed he will have to grab some bench.

Injuries have really derailed Markkanen’s progression in recent years. He played 68 games in his rookie season, but played no more than 52 contests in each of the next two campaigns.

If this injury bug sounds familiar to Bulls fans, it’s because Carter has also dealt with a litany of physical issues. The 21-year-old was limited to 44 games in his rookie year, then played just 43 games last season.

Two former No. 7 picks, and perhaps two guys who could be on the trade block next month?

Markkanen in particular is one to watch in that regard. The Bulls did not reach an agreement with Markkanen on a rookie extension, meaning he will be a restricted free agent this summer.

Chicago might try to get some value from Markkanen at the deadline rather than refusing to pay him what could amount to a fairly sizable deal this summer. Whether this shoulder injury harms his value remains to be seen.