On the afternoon of Jan. 10, the Chicago Bulls could be without a key cog in their starting five, with SF Otto Porter Jr. doubtful.
Injury troubles and just important absences in the rotation are starting to pile up for first-year head coach Billy Donovan and this building Chicago Bulls team of late. While the Bulls are starting to gain momentum, and are looking much better after an offseason full of internal change within the organization, the results aren’t really showing up in the win column as of yet.
Donovan and the Bulls were already missing the likes of the fourth-year power forward and 23-year-old seven-footer Lauri Markkanen, combo guard Tomas Satoransky, small forward Chandler Hutchison, and point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, on this west coast road trip, all due to violations of the league’s health and safety protocols. With Markkanen absent from the starting five, the likes of rookie forward Patrick Williams and veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr. were anticipated to step up and fill that void.
OPJ was often getting the start at the three or the four with Markkanen out. Both OPJ and Williams became integral parts of the Bulls starting five in the last few games. That was at least until Markkanen gets back in the mix.
Now the Bulls might be trying to round out this crucial west coast road trip this weekend without OPJ on Jan. 10, in an afternoon tip off against the Los Angeles Clippers. OPJ is reportedly (per the Twitter timeline of K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago on the night of Jan. 9) doubtful for the Clippers game to round out the weekend, due to back spasms.
He originally suffered the problems with the back spasms in the second half of the Bulls Jan. 8 tough two-point loss against the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers.
What the Bulls will be missing if OPJ is in fact out against the Clippers is a vital connection on the wing in their starting five. Up to this point, he’s started in six of the 10 games he’s played in (averaging around 23.5 minutes per game). And he’s averaged 12.8 points per game, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and no blocks. OPJ shot 43.8 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 88.9 percent from the free-throw line.
The Bulls and Clippers are set to tip off on Jan. 10, in the same arena they lost to the Lakers at to tip off the weekend. Tip off time itself is set for 3 p.m. CT at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Bulls come into the game with a record of 4-6, while the Clippers come in with a record of 6-4.