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Lauri Markkanen ramping up activity but still weeks away from return to Bulls

Lauri Markkanen, Bulls

Chicago Bulls second-year stretch forward Lauri Markkanen is still weeks away from making his season debut.

Markkanen suffered a high-grade lateral right elbow sprain during training camp. He didn’t require surgery but did keep the elbow immobilized for about a month.

Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson says Markkanen has started shooting and is moving in a solid direction.

The Bulls acquired the draft rights to  Markkanen in the Jimmy Butler trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2017, along with point guard Kris Dunn and shooting guard Zach LaVine. The 21-year-old Finn averaged 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game during his rookie year last season. He shot 43.4 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from beyond the arc and 84.3 percent from the free-throw line.

The young sharpshooter made the All-Rookie first team and has become a fan-favorite in Chicago. Markkanen’s injury before the season even started put a huge damper on the year, but hopefully, he will be able to come back soon and help the Bulls win some games.

Chicago enters Wednesday with a record of 3-8. Whenever Lauri Markkanen is ready to play, he is expected to enter the starting lineup. Bobby Portis started in Markkanen’s place before he suffered a knee injury. Jabari Parker is starting at the moment.