After scare in March, Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen cleared for full basketball activity

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 17: Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls gets introduced into the starting lineup against the Sacramento Kings on March 17, 2019 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO — One of the more concerning moments of the 2018-19 season for the Bulls was a health scare during a March game against the Raptors.

At halftime of the game in Toronto, Lauri Markkanen was pulled in the second half and held overnight for observation after experiencing what was described as “an episode of a rapid heart rate and fatigue.” As a precaution, the second-year player was held out for the remaining seven games of the season.

While it was said at the time that there was nothing believed to be seriously wrong for Markkanen, the forward officially got a clean bill of health on Thursday.

The team announced that Markkanen was cleared for full basketball activities after undergoing examinations over the past few weeks. It was determined that his issues were caused by dehydration and nutrient deficiency after undergoing tests with Dr. Richard Trohman, ceo-director of Cardiology of Rush University in Chicago and Dr. Hugh Calkins of Johns Hopkins University.

It’s a relief for Markkanen and the Bulls, who now move to the offseason after the regular season concluded last night with a loss to the Sixers in Philadelphia.

After a breakthrough rookie season, it was a little rockier for the forward in his second NBA season. Markkanen missed the first 23 games of the season after injuring his elbow in preseason practice, then struggled with consistency as he adjusted to the new style of head coach Jim Boylen.

But things improved as the new year continued, with Markkanen averaging 26 points a game in February while being named to the world team for the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. That number dropped in March — 16.8 points per game and 38.9% shooting — and then his season came to an end after the first half of the Raptors game on the 26th.

“Up and down,” is how Markkanen described the season. “Disappointing start, being out almost three months. Then, of course, took a little bit of time to get back. Then kinda got it going for a little bit, then this setback. So a lot of ups and downs and a lot that I can learn from.”

But at least he goes forward with a clean bill of health.

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