Chicago has to find a way to get Joakim Noah healthy and keep him that way if they are serious about contending in the East this season. That has not started out on a great as he has battled a groin issue that has limited him all through training camp and will keep him out of the rest of the Bulls preseason games (and maybe even opening night against the Heat).
Noah not only has to get healthy again, he has to get back in game shape. He may not be able to do that by when the Bulls tip-off the season next Tuesday night.
Don’t take my word for it, here are quotes from Thibodeau and Noah, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Asked specifically about the conditioning of Noah, who has played just 19 minutes, 45 seconds all camp due to a sore groin, Thibodeau said, “it’s not very good.” This would place Noah’s availability for the Oct. 29 regular-season opener in Miami in jeopardy….
“It’s possible,” Noah said. “But I’m not there yet. In my mind, I’m playing. I want to be out there as soon as I can. We’ll see when that is.”
Not good. But it is better to have him sit out against the Heat in October than to have this thing linger. What matters is April, May and their dreams of playing into June.
In other Bulls injury news, Jimmy Butler will be back after missing three games with a bruised knee; also Kirk Hinrich has yet to be fully cleared following his preseason concussion.