Lauri Markkanen likely to make Bulls season debut Saturday night

HOUSTON – A little more than nine weeks after spraining his right elbow, Lauri Markkanen is poised to make his season debut.

The Bulls upgraded his status to probable for Saturday’s showdown with the Rockets in Houston. Markkanen was targeting a return Tuesday night against the Pacers, but he appears to be ahead of schedule.

“He’s passed every hurdle that he’s had, as far as being medically cleared and going out and doing the individual workouts, having a controlled contact 2-on-2 session and then yesterday coming and going full-court 2-on-2 with some of our players,” Hoiberg said before Monday night’s 108-107 loss to San Antonio.

The 7-foot centerpiece of the Bulls rebuild averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 68 games as a rookie.