CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis publicly apologized on Saturday for his role in an altercation in practice that injured forward Nikola Mirotic, who will miss four to six weeks with two facial fractures.
The incident took place on Tuesday after the two teammates got into an altercation that resulted in Portis punching Mirotic. Mirotic was taken the hospital, where he was treated for two facial fractures and a concussion.
The Bulls suspended Portis for eight games. John Paxson, Chicago's vice president of operations, called the incident "inexcusable" on Wednesday and said it does not represent who the Bulls are. Mirotic will likely require surgery.
"I'm wrong for what I did," Portis said Saturday before the Bulls' home opener against the San Antonio Spurs.
Portis returned to practice on Friday after he apologized to his teammates in a meeting. He declined to speak with reporters after practice. Published reports indicated that Portis and Mirotic have been involved in shoving and shouting matches in the past. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Portis was unhappy that Mirotic was not present for summer workouts and that Portis' offseason efforts did not result in a starting job.
Portis said Saturday that wasn't the case.
"Me and Niko are competitors and we're in the same position (at forward) and so we compete," Portis said. "We compete and things happen."
Portis, Chicago's first-round pick in 2015, said he has texted and called Mirotic, who, according to Portis, has not responded. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said that the most important thing right now is that Mirotic heals up.
"He's still sore," Hoiberg said.
Portis said he was surprised by his reaction and said that's not who he is. He expects that once Mirotic returns to Chicago, the two will sit down and attempt to work things out.
"Going forward, I want to make sure that Nico and I are cool and that we can be teammates again," Portis said. "I'm pretty sure we can -- we just need to repair this relationship."