Joakim Noah appeared in just one of the Bulls’ eight preseason games due to being limited by a groin issue, and his status for Tuesday’s season opener against the Heat was in question not only due to the injury, but because of his conditioning suffering at the same time.
Noah says that’s all behind him now, though, and declared himself ‘100 percent’ ready to join is teammates in beginning the season in Miami against the defending champs.
Noah … said earlier in the week it was possible that he would miss the opener but now appears confident he will be able to play. He went through all of Sunday’s practice without any limitations.
“I feel pretty good,” Noah said. “[Practice is] different than a game but I feel good and I’m really excited about Tuesday.”
Noah said he really didn’t consider actually sitting out against the Heat.
“I think if my groin was still bothering me we’d have to talk about it because I didn’t want it to linger on all season,” he said. “It would have been really tough to sit out a game that I’ve been waiting for all summer. I’ve been training for this game all summer. So it would have been tough but we got to think big picture.”
That’s going to be the key with Noah and the rest of the Bulls this season.
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Chicago is a team under Tom Thibodeau whose best players log heavy minutes, and have historically done so even while playing at less than 100 percent. The players and the coaching staff need to be smart about managing injuries throughout the course of the season, in order to field the healthiest version possible of the team for what’s anticipated to be a deep postseason run.
It appears that Noah’s injury is not one of these situations, so he’ll be in the starting lineup against the Heat on Tuesday.