It has been quite the journey for forward Otto Porter Jr. this season.
From an injury to his left foot that initially was thought to be soft-tissue inflammation to an MRI exam that discovered a bone bruise to being in a walking boot Friday, things aren’t exactly going in the right direction.
The Bulls announced another MRI exam revealed continued swelling, so they decided to put Porter’s foot in the boot and made plans to send him to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to meet with foot and ankle specialist Dr. Bob Anderson. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Even if Porter improves under that treatment plan, it will be the third week of December and he won’t be in basketball shape. In a best-case scenario, he will return in January.
‘‘Well, it’s always concerning when you have a guy on your team hurt,’’ coach Jim Boylen said before the Bulls’ loss to the Warriors. ‘‘It’s always difficult when you’re short on big wings. . . . We’ll just try and get the answers we can and reset the course for his return, so I don’t have a lot of those answers for you. Obviously, O.P. is frustrated, we’re frustrated and I feel bad for him.’’
The shortage of ‘‘big wings’’ isn’t just because the Bulls have had Porter for only nine games this season. Chandler Hutchison missed his fourth consecutive game Friday against the Warriors with a sprained right shoulder, and Thaddeus Young missed the game for personal reasons. Young is scheduled to rejoin the Bulls on Sunday in Miami.
That meant Boylen again used Kris Dunn in a combo guard/forward role, with Zach LaVine and Tomas Satoransky in the backcourt.
The news on Hutchison, who also missed a big chunk at the start of the season with a hamstring issue, was moving in a positive direction. He continued getting up shots before the game.
‘‘I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy kind of have this bad string of injuries,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘Kind of difficult things for a young player. The one thing I’ve learned about him is he works very hard and he’s anxious to get back.
‘‘It’s going to come down to that bruised shoulder kind of loosening up. He’s doing everything he can to keep his body ready for when that happens, so I don’t have a timetable there, either. All I can tell you is he works and he cares, so when he can be back, he’ll be back.’’
Hutchison played in only 44 games as a rookie last season because of a toe issue, so Boylen was asked whether Hutchison knows the difference between pain and injury at this point in his career.
‘‘I think he does,’’ Boylen said. ‘‘He played last year with the toe, where he hurt the toe and played the next game and played well, so I don’t think his toughness is in question at all. He’s had a string of bad breaks and difficult situations, and he’s being tested.’’
Be like Mike
By scoring 25 points Wednesday against the Grizzlies, LaVine became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan in 1997 to score 25 or more points against four consecutive Western Conference teams.
The streak ended when he scored 22 points against the Warriors.