The Bulls shut down big man Lauri Markkanen on Wednesday after he experienced “an episode of rapid heart rate and fatigue” during Tuesday’s contest against the Raptors. Markkanen was kept overnight in a Toronto hospital following Chicago’s game before being ruled out for the remainder of the season.
As NBC Sports Chicago’s Mark Strotman writes, Markkanen was “not worried” but felt off during Tuesday’s contest. After a sluggish first half, he did not return to the game.
“I wasn’t really worried at any point,” Markkanen said. “Just felt really weird. How you are after a workout and a couple minutes in (to the game) I felt like I already finished a workout. It was kind of tough stuff but I’m still alive. It wasn’t scary but it felt pretty weird.”
Markannen, 21, appeared in 52 total contests for Chicago this season after missing 23 games earlier in 2018/19 due to an elbow sprain. The Finnish center said he wanted to finish out the regular season on a high note, but the unexpected medical episode did not permit that.
“I took a lot of pride on if I had something small just playing through it and not missing any more games,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate, but health is the most important. So I’m frustrated I can’t play but it is what it is.”
While Markkanen’s season ended prematurely, he certainly showed some sophomore year improvements. He set career-highs across several categories, most notably PPG (18.7), RPG (9.0) and MPG (32.3).