Chicago Bulls suspend Bobby Portis eight games for role in scuffle

The punishment comes after Portis and forward Nikola Mirotic had a "physical altercation" during Tuesday's practice, per a statement from the Bulls.

The team believes both parties are at fault in the incident, but Portis had to be suspended because he threw a punch.

The Bulls announced Wednesday that Mirotic suffered maxillary fractures and a concussion and will likely undergo surgery. Paxson said Mirotic needs to clear the concussion protocol before the facial injuries can be addressed. He's a good kid, he's a competitive kid. Mirotic dropped to the floor and lay there for several minutes before getting up.

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"Bobby Portis is not a bad person", Paxson said to reporters on Wednesday after practice, via Sean Highkin. In fact, the fight sent forward Nikola Mirotic to the hospital.

The 6-11, 248-pound Portis, 22, averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 64 games (13 starts) last season and was battling Mirotic for the starting power forward spot. His first three seasons in Chicago haven't exactly been sparkling - he has averaged a modest 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds with a discreet 35% success rate in three pointers. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September.

According to multiple Bulls players, and a fact that that Paxson acknowledged himself, the Portis-Mirotic conflict has been brewing for a few seasons, as the two forwards had a handful of shouting and shoving matches in practice going back to the 2015-16 campaign.