Bulls Will Be Mindful Of Otto Porter Jr.'s Workload

Porter will play about 30 minutes a game and could rest on back-to-backs.

Cody Westerlund
October 20, 2019 - 2:02 pm

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Mindful of starting small forward Otto Porter Jr.'s history of ailments and how important his two-way play is to their team, the Bulls have devised a workload plan to play him around 30 minutes a game early on and possibly rest him on one end of back-to-back sets.

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Porter and coach Jim Boylen had a meeting Friday to discuss Porter's workload. While the 26-year-old Porter is healthy, he has dealt with some nagging injuries in seasons past, including a shoulder strain that sidelined him for the final 11 games of last season. Porter also dealt with knee and neck ailments last season and had surgery on his left leg in April 2018 to address what the Wizards called compartment syndrome.

"We will manage him appropriately," Boylen said after practice Sunday. "We will not play him over 30 minutes in anything we do to get going here. We'll manage him on the off days in a real respectful way. Obviously, he's a big piece. He's our starting three. He's a big wing, and we need him."

Porter's availability for back-to-backs will fluid, with the Bulls planning to seek feedback from him on a daily basis. The Bulls' first back-to-back comes next Friday and Saturday.

"We'll see how he feels," Boylen said. 

"We have a plan. It's rough because it's dependent on just how he feels. I met with Otto two days ago and laid it out for him, what I was thinking, what we were thinking and how he felt. So we had a real good talk on it. He's a very mature guy and understands his value and I understand his value too."

Porter played 56 games in 2018-'19. In the prior four seasons, he logged 77, 80, 75 and 74 games for the Wizards, so he has been rather durable.

The balancing act with Porter's workload comes as the Bulls are thin at wing, as Chandler Hutchison continues to be sidelined by a hamstring injury and Denzel Valentine has fallen out of the initial 10-man rotation. Given those developments, the Bulls will primarily use smaller lineups to fill the reserve small forward minutes, with Tomas Satoransky, Shaq Harrison and Coby White capable of being used there. Boylen also indicated the Bulls could experiment with a bigger lineup that would feature Thad Young getting some small forward minutes for stretches.

For his part, Porter doesn't feel any extra pressure.

"I’ll hold it down for us until we get Chandler back," Porter said. "That’s going to be always my job. But like I said, we got a lot of guards that can play the three too. We got a lot of guys that can play multiple positions. If somebody goes down, the next man always got to step up and replace – not replace but do more – and I feel like everybody is going to do more."

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.