TORONTO — By all accounts — from players to other personnel — Fred Hoiberg has become more assertive since 2015-16, his first season as Bulls coach.
But Hoiberg was asked Thursday if the Bobby Portis-Nikola Mirotic altercation will force him to become even more vocal.
“I don’t know about that,’’ Hoiberg said. “It’s been really healthy competition, and that’s what you want. You want to create an environment where these guys are leaving everything they have out on the floor. With the young group that we have, you have to try to create that for these guys to go out and compete, and they’ve really bought into it.
“Obviously, you don’t want what happened a couple of days ago, for it to go too far, but you learn from it, you grow from it and hope it doesn’t happen again.’’
The Bulls were still dealing with the aftermath of Portis’ punch, which sent Mirotic, who’s awaiting surgery, to the hospital with a concussion and two broken bones in his face and left the team short-handed.
That’s why rookie Lauri Markkanen was in the starting lineup; it was all hands on deck against the Raptors.
Hoiberg did not speak with Portis, who started serving his eight-game suspension, but he did have contact with Mirotic on Thursday.
“He’s doing OK,’’ Hoiberg said. “He’s still sore, as expected right now. We’ll get a better update [Friday] with where he’s at.’’
Portis is expected back at the Advocate Center on Friday. He is allowed to practice with teammates. Hoiberg has plans to have a sit-down with Portis and Mirotic in the room at the same time at some point, but there is no set date.
“It’s a learning opportunity for everybody involved in it, and I’m confident we’ll learn from it, and we’ll continue to go out and have good, competitive practices, but it won’t get to that again,’’ Hoiberg said.
Guard Zach LaVine made the trip as he continues to ramp up his basketball activity in his recovery from ACL surgery on his left knee.
That doesn’t mean his mid-November, early-December timeline has been moved up, however.
“Zach is doing a lot of stuff,’’ Hoiberg said. “He’s been getting out there, he’s been doing the passing drills with our team and he’s been doing the walkthrough script actions with our team. Just trying to introduce him to as much as possible to get the system introduced to him.’’
Point guard Kris Dunn, who dislocated his left index finger during the preseason, is getting closer to a return but has been ruled out of the home opener Saturday against the Spurs.
His hope is to be back next week, but the final obstacle is getting his conditioning back up.
“It’s hard to simulate conditioning from running up the floor to an actual game,’’ Dunn said.
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