Report: Nikola Mirotic still ‘several weeks away’ from return

SHARE Report: Nikola Mirotic still ‘several weeks away’ from return
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Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic (44) drives on Miami Heat guard Tyler Johnson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Nicola Mirotic was originally expected to miss three-to-five weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last month, but a surprise hematoma removal will sideline him much longer.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said Tuesday that the big man is still “several weeks away” from returning to Chicago’s lineup.

Mirotic hasn’t played since a Jan. 25 loss to the Heat and the Bulls are 2-6 in the eight games since. The good news is that Mirotic has started working out again – though he has reportedly lost 15 pounds since the surgeries.

A video posted by Nikola Mirotic (@threekola) on Feb 15, 2016 at 1:37pm PST

A video posted by Nikola Mirotic (@threekola) on Feb 12, 2016 at 2:21pm PST

Here we go.. #recuperation #day1 pic.twitter.com/ShctehfGT0 — Nikola Mirotic (@threekola) February 12, 2016

The Bulls have struggled mightily without Mirotic, Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery last month.

Chicago has been especially poor on the defensive side, allowing more than 110 points per game over its last seven.

The Bulls will return from the All-Star break in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but just a game ahead of the ninth-place Pistons. And the schedule doesn’t get much easier – six of Chicago’s next seven games are against teams currently in playoff position, beginning with Cleveland on Thursday.

Stats via ESPN

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