Chicago Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic was present for practice at the team’s facility Monday, the first time he has rejoined his teammates since an altercation with Bobby Portis in practice on Oct. 17 that left Mirotic with a concussion and several facial fractures.
Mirotic, who has not been cleared for contact, did not practice, instead visiting the trainer’s room and lifting weights.
He also did not speak to fellow power forward Portis, who was suspended eight games for punching Mirotic.
According to reports, Mirotic’s representatives have made it clear to the Bulls that he isn’t interested in sharing the floor with Portis again in Chicago.
Portis said last month, in his first public comments after the fight, that he texted and called Mirotic but did not hear back from him. Last week, Portis said he had not tried to reach out to Mirotic since.
However, he said Monday that if Mirotic reached out to him, he would “welcome him in with open arms.”
“I’d react normal,” Portis said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I’m a normal guy. I’m a high character guy, low maintenance guy.”
Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said it was time for Mirotic to rejoin the team instead of working out separately.
“When he started to get healthy, because he’s on our roster, it’s incumbent on him to be around when the team’s around. That’s just a part of it,” Paxson said, according to the Tribune. “I look at it this way: We want him to start coming around more. And it is on him to do that.”
Said Paxson of the silence between Mirotic and Portis: “They are adults. This is our workplace. They’re both part of the team. I think it’s pretty simple.”
Paxson did not have an update on when Mirotic will return to the court, although the Bulls initially said he would be out four to six weeks and he is nearing the four-week mark.
“The timeline for him getting back is all how he’s feeling and recovering from what he went through,” Paxson said, according to the Tribune. “He obviously has to get his conditioning up to a level that he needs to. That’s all a process for him.”
Paxson previously said the team is sympathetic to Mirotic’s situation with Portis but would have to do what’s best for the organization. Mirotic signed a two-year, $27 million contract before the season and cannot be traded until Jan. 15.
ESPN’s Nick Friedell contributed to this report.