Yesterday it was widely reported that Chicago Bulls power forward/center Bobby Portis punched his teammate Nikola Mirotic in the grill so hard that it fractured his face, requiring a visit to a local hospital.
The two ware allegedly involved in a shoving match during practice that ended with Portis allegedly delivering a cheap shot to Mirotic’s face.
Later, the Bulls confirmed that Mirotic was diagnosed with maxillary fractures and a concussion. (Dayum!) Look, everyone who has ever played a team sport is aware of how feisty and competitive some practices can be. Aside from competitiveness gone awry, its anyones guess as to EXACTLY why the two got into it.
Sources: Portis, Mirotic were getting verbal, physical and escalated into punches. Portis connected, Mirotic stayed down several minutes.
When you have two guys that are nearly 7-feet-tall and weighing north of 235 pounds, a single punch has the potential to be deadly. Portis is 6′ 11″, 246. Mirotic is 6’10” and weighs 238. That is a heavyweight bout for sure.
You can ask former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich how it feels to be punched in the face by an NBA big man, and you can ask Kermit Washington about the guilt he felt after delivering the blow. But at least they were on opposing teams.
According to a tweet from Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports, this altercation was brewing and percolating for years and was allegedly instigated by Mirotic.
This has been three years in the making, a source said. Mirotic has broken bones in his face, apparently instigated, and Portis punched him
In one fell swoop, the Chicago Bulls are without two big men that it absolutely needed to stay afloat through Christmas. As it stands, Lauri Markkanen is the primary option to have Robin Lopezs back on the frontline while Mirotic heals and Portis takes an unpaid leave of absence for eight games starting Thursday.