sports 3 days ago

Kris Dunn practices again, could return for final Bulls game before All-Star break

Chicago Tribune — K.C. Johnson Chicago Tribune

Feb. 14--For some players, logging minutes in the final game before the All-Star break after missing the previous 11 might seem foolish.

In Kris Dunn's situation, the Bulls think otherwise.

Dunn, sidelined from game action since his Jan. 17 concussion, practiced for a second straight day and fifth overall since exiting the league's concussion protocol. Two of those practices have been with the Windy City Bulls.

Coach Fred Hoiberg said a determination on Dunn's availability for Wednesday night's game against the Raptors will be made following the morning shootaround.

"If he's over body soreness, I don't think anybody has any issue getting him back out there," Hoiberg said. "We'll be careful with it, just to make sure he gets fully conditioned. If he does play, it won't be a lot of minutes.

"But it has been great to see him in practice. The competitiveness goes up because of his drive. Hopefully, he continues to make progress and we get him back."

Another positive byproduct to playing Wednesday is it likely would allow Dunn to participate in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star weekend. Given Dunn's disappointing rookie season, it's an honor Dunn earned and appreciates.

And while the event is more of a non-strenuous, fan-friendly exhibition more than competitive a game, playing in it without first appearing in an NBA game might be bad optics.

Tanks a lot: Hoiberg flatly rejected a question about the odd dynamic a portion of the fan base created in wanting the Bulls to lose, particularly against other victory-challenged teams like the Magic.

"It's the era we live in. I understand some of it. But again, it's important for these guys to learn how to win. That's a big part of everything you have going with a young team," he said. "You go through stretches where you really get deflated when things aren't going well. So you have to have something to keep morale up and keep the guys going. And again, you want guys making plays down the stretch.

"These guys are competitors. They're going to try to win every game. So to get two of the last three, one against a great team in Minnesota and a team that really had been improving and playing better in Orlando, it's good for everybody."

No go: The Bulls asked the league office to downgrade Bobby Portis' flagrant-two foul on the Wizards' Tomas Satoransky that led to his ejection -- and some subsequent social media trash talking -- last Saturday. The league declined.

kcjohnson@chicagotribune.com

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