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Timberwolves’ Taj Gibson told Bulls’ Denzel Valentine to get ankle surgery

Denzel Valentine, Taj Gibson, Bulls

Taj Gibson may not be on the Chicago Bulls anymore, but he’s still helping the franchise out, as the veteran power forward called swingman Denzel Valentine and encouraged him to get reconstructive ankle surgery.

Taj Gibson underwent ankle surgery in 2015 and rehabbed for about four months. The Bulls announced last week that Denzel Valentine will undergo surgery on his ankle with a recovery time of around 4-6 months.

Gibson and Valentine were teammates during the 2016-17 season. Gibson is now with the Minnesota Timberwolves and is having a solid season as usual, averaging 11.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from beyond the arc and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Valentine won’t play this season. The former first-round pick averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last year and shot 41.7 percent from the floor, 38.6 percent from the 3-point line and 74.5 percent from the charity stripe.

Valentine spoke to reporters this week about his injury, explaining that he’s thinking the big picture in addressing his lingering left ankle issues.

“When I come back, it’s going to be a brand new ankle,” Valentine said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “I’ve been pretty much having ankle issues ever since my rookie year, so I mean, I think I’m going to be fine. I think I’m going to take my game to another level because I’m going to be more stable in my ankle. It will take a whole year, get my body right, which I haven’t been able to do since college, really. I’ve just been on the go, on the go, on the go, so it could be a blessing in disguise is how I have to look at it.”

The Bulls are still rebuilding, so there’s no point for Valentine to play this season if he’s not 100 percent.