Bulls' Denzel Valentine needs ankle surgery, out 4-6 months

Denzel Valentine will be out four to six months after undergoing surgery on his left ankle for the second time, the Chicago Bulls announced Monday, putting his return this season in doubt.

Valentine, who has missed the first 17 games of the season because of ankle injuries, was diagnosed with ongoing ankle instability, the Bulls said. Based on the evaluation of Wisconsin-based foot and ankle specialist Dr. Bob Anderson, it was decided that Valentine would have ankle surgery next week.

Valentine was initially diagnosed with a sprained left ankle during the team's September training camp and was expected to miss one to two weeks. But in late October, the Bulls announced he was suffering from a bone bruise, not a sprain, and would miss an additional two weeks.

The Bulls said Valentine is expected to recover fully and participate in normal offseason training. Last season, Valentine averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He started 37 games, but he missed the final two weeks of the regular season after having surgery on his left knee.

"Denzel is a very important part of this team," coach Fred Hoiberg said in September when it was initially announced that Valentine would miss some time. "He's a guy we used a lot in the second unit as a facilitator."

The short-handed Bulls (4-13) are also without Lauri Markkanen (elbow), Bobby Portis (MCL sprain) and Kris Dunn (MCL sprain).