Sad news out of Hoffman Estates last night.
During the Chicago Bulls 103-95 loss against the Orlando Magic, the Bulls official Twitter account tweeted out that two-way player Max Strus tore his ACL in his left knee and suffered a bone bruise in that same knee on Dec. 21. It will sideline him somewhere between 8-12 months.
Quietly, Strus had been performing well in the G League. The 6-foot-5-inch forward from nearby Hickory Hill, Ill. was averaging 18.2 points per game. He wasn’t doing it in the most efficient manner ever (41.5 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from 3-point land), but he was the third leading scorer on a pretty good 9-7 Windy City Bulls team.
Strus got a little bit of run at the NBA level this season, but it was mostly in garbage time. He was subbed in for just over a minute on Nov. 29 against the Portland Trail Blazers and got a more substantive 4:55 of run against Miami when the Bulls third stringers almost came all the way back against the Miami Heat.
It’s a devastating injury for Strus. You never want to see someone get injured especially for a guy at the start of his career.
Was he going to make an impact at the NBA level this season? The Bulls wing depth has been a question mark all season and injuries to Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison diluted the depth at that position even further. Yet, Jim Boylen showed no interest in playing Strus despite the fact that he’s kind of a hybrid two that can play three in the small-ball lineups the Bulls have loved to use this season.
Boylen finally relenting and dusting Denzel Valentine off the end of the bench and then the former Spartan actually playing well when given an opportunity, further bleakened Strus’ chances of solidifying a spot in the rotation.
But, Strus is a talented, hard-working kid and this certainly won’t be the last you will hear of him in the National Basketball Association.