Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic is moving on from the ugly episode involving teammate Bobby Portis over a fight that turned violent during a practice session last month.
After practicing with the team on Wednesday, Mirotic said he’s already accepted the apology by Portis. In the end, they are still teammates and will work out their issues between them so it doesn’t hamper the overall goals of the organization.
However, Mirotic hinted that he still hasn’t talked to his teammate one-on-one to discuss what happened. As to how Portis would know that his apology was already accepted, the 26-year-old said, “ I guess he will know now.”
The 6-10 forward said there’s no awkwardness with his teammates, and he got a lot of support while he was recovering. “When I stepped into the United Center [Tuesday] it was a huge feeling for me, really excited just to be on the bench, so yeah, I’m excited,” he said.
The good news is that Mirotic is fully healed from the concussion and multiple facial fractures when Portis punched him on the face. However, there’s no timetable yet for his return. At the earliest, reported NBA.com, the sweet-shooting Spaniard can come back on Monday.
He was given a facial mask as protection but Mirotic said that he won’t need it “because I’m basically healed from my fractures.” He also deferred going through surgery after getting second opinions and the doctors agreed that it will heal by its own.
Portis was suspended for the first eight games of the regular season for the punch on Oct. 17 that sidelined his teammate for almost two months now.
John Paxson, president of basketball operations, said in a statement a day after the incident happened that both players were made accountable for their actions, but only Portis threw a punch “and that punch connected and for us that is inexcusable.”