Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis was suspended eight games less than 24 hours after punching teammate Nikola Mirotic and breaking his jaw at practice, the team announced Wednesday.
In announcing the suspension by the team, Bulls executive vice president John Paxson said Mirotic will be out four to six weeks after suffering fractures to his upper jaw and a concussion from Tuesday's altercation.
"Both players owned responsibility in the incident itself but only one player threw a punch," Paxson told reporters Wednesday. "And that punch connected. For us, that is inexcusable. It's not who we are. It disappoints us."
Paxson said Mirotic's concussion symptoms must subside before the facial injuries can be addressed.
Portis will serve the suspension beginning with the Bulls' season opener at Toronto on Thursday night. He will be able to practice with the team during his suspension.
"Bobby Portis is not a bad person," Paxson said. "He's a good kid. He's a competitive kid. But in this instance, he made a mistake. And as we all know when you make mistakes, you have to suffer the consequences."
The players had been talking trash to one another in practice, going back and forth before those exchanges escalated into a physical encounter, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Mirotic charged at Portis twice before Portis threw a punch and connected with Mirotic's face, according to the report.
Mirotic dropped to the floor and lay there for several minutes before getting up. He was taken to the hospital and released later Tuesday.
The 6-foot-10, 238-pound Mirotic, 26, averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 70 games (15 starts) last season and was expected to start for Chicago this season. He signed a two-year deal with $12.5 million guaranteed this season to stay in Chicago.
The 6-11, 248-pound Portis, 22, averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 64 games (13 starts) last season and was battling Mirotic for the starting power forward spot. The 2015 first-round pick by the Bulls averaged 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds over 126 games the past two seasons.