"Nikola Mirotic is still a ways away from returning to any kind of basketball activity, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg revealed after the team’s first practice from the All-Star break. Mirotic underwent an appendectomy in late January and subsequently a hematoma removal several days later, as his return went from “days away” to “weeks away.” Having lost 15 pounds after the hematoma removal, he’s gradually gaining it back but hasn’t been evaluated for any return to basketball activities yet." CSN
The Bulls are obviously in the dregs of despair right now after losing most of their last most games recently, but there's some hope. Yes, Jimmy Butler is out with the knee. Yes, Big Jo Noah's shoulder is dead. Yes, Derrick Rose is Derrick Rose and a member of these Chicago Bulls. Yes, Nikola is out after a major surgery and now still won't be back for weeks.
But the hope lies in Nikola Mirotic's recovery: the dude sucked the last few months so obviously he can only be great upon his return. I'm talking sucked. He's apparently averaging 10.6 points per game and 38% shooting this season, but it sure doesn't look like it, because Niko not only has failed the eye test this year, he's blinded those taking it. When I've watched the Bulls play, Nikola has just been a complete non-threat. Missed shots, no clutch, pretty average-on-a-good-night. That's why he'll be great when he gets back. The 15 pounds of crap they removed from him in surgery have obviously just weighed the man down, so now that they're gone, his slump will be, too. No one shoots above 40% with a 15 or 17 or 18 pound weight on them all the time. Take away the weight/hematoma/mental block and boom, you're shooting hot again, just like that. It's bad news for now for the Bulls that Niko is out, but great news in the long run. If we somehow get into the playoffs this year he's gonna start torching guys when the postseason rolls around.
And yes, I've seen the video of his locked-knees leg press:
I'm not worried about that causing further injuries and ruining him. Nikola's Yugoslavian, obviously leg press is just different there. Don't appropriate American lifting cultural standards on him, he clearly doesn't need them. Nikola Mirotic's on the up and up post-surgery no matter what.