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Denzel Valentine out for start of preseason with ankle injury

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Valentine has dealt with lower-body issues the last few years

NBA: Chiacgo Bulls-Media Day Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine missed Thursday’s practice with ankle soreness, according to the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson. The Bulls had an official update Friday:

While this injury doesn’t seem serious, note that Valentine has had his share of lower-body injuries in recent years. His 2017-18 season ended prematurely due to arthroscopic debridement surgery on his left knee. After his rookie season, he needed a scope on his left ankle that kept him off the court for nearly a month. He sprained that ankle twice during the year and played 57 games as a result.

Valentine also had concerns about his knees coming into the NBA. He underwent a left knee scope during his senior season at Michigan State, and his right knee was red-flagged for potential long-term concerns.

Valentine did take a nice step forward last season, averaging 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 27.2 minutes per game. He also shot 38.6 percent from 3 on nearly five attempts per game. His defense may stink and his lack of athleticism makes him almost useless in the paint unless he’s making his goofy floaters, but he has value off the bench as a 3-point gunner and secondary playmaker.

Valentine is slated to play a sizable role off the bench again, though the additions of Jabari Parker and Chandler Hutchison may cause a dip in those 27.2 minutes per game. And don’t forget Justin Holiday is still around. Fred Hoiberg could turn to Valentine for spot point guard minutes to make up for a loss of playing time on the wing. (Remember, Valentine thinks he can guard point guards.)

If this timetable is correct, Valentine will miss Sunday’s preseason opener against the Pelicans. That should give the Bulls a bigger look at Hutchison, which isn’t a bad thing.