Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine to have likely season-ending ankle surgery

SHARE Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine to have likely season-ending ankle surgery
SHARE Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine to have likely season-ending ankle surgery

It was a harbinger for Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine.

Last week, vice president of basketball operations John Paxson pulled reporters aside to let them know that Valentine’s rehab process had been shut down and he had been ruled out “indefinitely.’’

“Indefinitely’’ became likely for the rest of the season Monday.

The Bulls announced that Valentine had been diagnosed with “ongoing [left] ankle instability,’’ and after seeing specialist Bob Anderson, it was determined that he would undergo a surgical reconstruction of the ankle next week, with a recovery time of four to six months.

The news was a huge blow to Valentine, a first-round pick in 2016, in what was supposed to be his defining third season. It might be an even bigger blow to the Bulls, who are thin on the bench and could use his 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, as well as his .386 shooting percentage from three-point range, which was third on the team last season.

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“Denzel getting hurt was actually very big to us, as well,’’ teammate Justin Holiday said over the weekend. “That’s tough for us because of what he brought off the bench for us. And even when he started, what he brings to the game — him being able to score, him understanding the game defensively, his mind. All that stuff mattered for us. So definitely not having him is hurting us.’’

The team also announced that Valentine was expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of offseason workouts heading into training camp.

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