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After two surgeries, Nikola Mirotic's return to Bulls uncertain

Nikola Mirotic is still experiencing some pain in his recovery from an appendectomy but plans to play again in the regular season. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- A noticeably thinner Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic said Wednesday that he underwent a second procedure following complications from an appendectomy, but he vowed to play again in the regular season.

Mirotic, who spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing the procedures, said he is "feeling better now each day." After having the appendectomy on Jan. 27, Mirotic had a rare complication that required surgery to remove a hematoma a few days later.

"When I went home, I went with pain," Mirotic said of what he was told for the reason for the complications after his initial surgery. "They told me after first surgery, don't worry, next day you can go home. But I was not feeling good. So I stayed one more night. So after two days, I went home and I had all night a high fever. I was still in pain. The next morning, they make me come back and they find some hematoma inside my stomach and told me they need to do a second surgery. I stay almost a week there. I lost 17, 18 pounds. But now I'm trying to get that weight back. I recovered some pounds. But it's still early. Now, finally I can walk and do some stuff in the pool and weight room. I don't know how many days, weeks. But as soon as I can. That's what I want and what the team wants."

Asked if he believed a mistake had been made with his initial surgery, Mirotic said: "I don't know. I don't think so. But they say in 30 years, it never happened to nobody, just me. I'm the first one. It was maybe bad luck. It was no one's mistake. It just could happen. I'm trying to forget that and focus on my recovery."

Mirotic's absence is yet another setback for a Bulls team that heads into Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 27-25 record and has underperformed all season. All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler is out for at least a few more weeks because of a left knee strain, and former All-Star Joakim Noah is out for the season after shoulder surgery last month.

First-year coach Fred Hoiberg is trying to remain optimistic, but the Bulls likely are going to be without Mirotic and Butler at least until March.

"I want the soonest," Mirotic said of his potential return, although he acknowledged that he is still having pain in "both sides" of his stomach. "Last year, I just missed one game. The good thing is I know my body is young and I can recover soon. I don't know. Maybe two, three weeks. I don't know what the time is.

"The one thing I know that I will do the best job I can to get on the floor soon and help my teammates. We will see. Everything is individual. Each day, see how I will progress. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."