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Lauri Markannen to miss initial preseason games due to back injury

The Injury Bug Has Already Bitten the Chicago Bulls

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

We’ve barely finished ripping the wrapping paper off the beginning of Chicago Bulls training camp, and there’s already a couple injuries to report.

Lauri Markkanen left practice on Saturday with back spasms, and will not play in the Bulls first two preseason games (this Tuesday and Wednesday). It’s been reported that he’s responded well to treatment, and that the Chicago Bulls don’t expect this to be a serious issue. However, they’ll be cautious with their 2017 lottery pick.

Did Markkanen’s summer workload contribute to his current injury? In addition to his regularly-scheduled Las Vegas Summer League games, Markkanen played six additional games in the 2017 EuroBasket tournament (in addition to all the practices and a few exhibition games). KC Johnson noted that Markannen suffered back spasms in the lead-up to Eurobasket.

Additionally, veteran Quincy Pondexter strained his left hamstring during practice on Saturday and is also ruled out in the first two preseason games. It’s the same leg that he’s had three reconstructive knee surgeries on during his career.

The Bulls traded for Pondexter so that they could obtain a second-round pick in the deal. At 29 years old, he probably isn’t in the long-term plans of this rebuilding franchise. However, Pondexter’s career has been defined by incredible displays of perseverance, and if you need a guy to root for on the current roster, Pondexter is that guy.