Lauri Markkanen injury update: Bulls F cleared for full contact, could return in early December

Lauri Markkanen could be back on the court soon.

The 21-year-old forward sprained his elbow in late September and has not appeared in a game this season. But, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters Monday he has been cleared for full contact.

“Lauri is excited, his teammates are excited and certainly his coaches are excited,’’ Hoiberg said (via the Chicago Sun-Times).

Markkanen has a chance to return sometime in early December, according to the Sun-Times.

“It’s going to be a day-by-day situation. If he has soreness, we’ll obviously scale back,” Hoiberg said. “But if he keeps making progress, we can keep getting him out on the floor.”

Markkanen shined as a rookie for Chicago last season, averaging 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 68 games. He also knocked down 36.2 percent of his 3-pointers.

Markkanen said Tuesday was his “first real practice” since the injury.

“Impossible to say (when my rhythm comes back),” Markkanen said. “I’ve been playing basketball now but it’s totally different from five-on-five. Just trying to get my wind back because obviously no matter how much I do conditioning, games are different. Hopefully it doesn’t take long.’’

The Bulls will face the Bucks on Wednesday. They’ll enter that matchup with a 5-16 record.