Bulls' Nikola Mirotic out for Game 3

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

CHICAGO -- Nikola Mirotic has been ruled out of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a swollen left knee and left quad injury, the Chicago Bulls announced Wednesday.

Mirotic rode a stationary bike during practice and got some shots up after practice ended, but he was not moving around well and had no elevation on his shots.

Mirotic was injured during a pileup late in the fourth quarter of Monday night's Game 2 win when he got tangled up with Bucks big man Zaza Pachulia, among others.

"He's feeling better," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "But he still has a ways to go."

Thibodeau remains optimistic that veteran guard Kirk Hinrich, who missed the first two games of the series because of a hyperextended left knee, will be able to play in Game 3. Hinrich went through practice on Wednesday and took some extra shots after it was over.

Despite Mirotic's absence, the Bulls are looking forward to taking the 90-minute bus ride to Milwaukee, where they expect to have plenty of fans in attendance.

"Obviously he's been a big part of our team, coming off the bench the second half of the year," veteran guard Mike Dunleavy said of Mirotic's looming absence. "You know, it will be an adjustment. We're going to miss that firepower, but I think we get Kirk back and we have guys that can fill in hopefully. I mean he's a unique player, so can't really duplicate exactly what he does, but we've got guys that can fill in and hopefully hold down the fort."

Dunleavy, who played in Milwaukee for a couple of seasons before signing with the Bulls in the summer of 2013, admitted that it was tough as a Bucks player to watch as Bulls fans invaded the Bradley Center.

"It's noticeable," Dunleavy said. "It's definitely irritating. I'm happy to be on the Bulls' side now. Hopefully we get a ton of people up there, lots of red and fill that thing up. Yeah, because the couple years I was there it was, shoot, we played 39 home games and 43 on the road basically. So looking forward to the support."