In a perfect world, Lauri Markkanen would be preparing to face Joel Embiid and the 76ers on Thursday.
But even before the COVID-19 virus suspended the NBA season and placed much of the world on hold, Markkanen knew all about imperfect worlds.
Thursday marked the one-year anniversary since Markkanen experienced an irregular heartbeat while facing the Raptors in Toronto, ending his 2018-19 season after just 52 games. A severe elbow injury had delayed his season debut until Dec. 1, 2018.
Last April 11, the Bulls cleared Markkanen to resume all basketball activities after a series of tests at two hospitals revealed no abnormalities in his heart. A team release, citing doctors from Rush University Medical Center and John Hopkins University, reported the cause of Markkanen’s symptoms “to be primarily related to a combination of dehydration and nutrient deficiency.”
This led to some speculation, most of it existing online, about whether Markkanen’s diet contributed to the issue. Markkanen, whose wife is vegan, gave up red meat 2 1/2 years ago and largely has eschewed dairy.