Noah says it’s just a little tweak in the road


Oct 18

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

Here we go again?

“It flared up on me,” Joakim Noah said before Friday’s preseason game against the Indiana Pacers after the Bulls earlier in the day said he would be held back another week due to his groin tweak. “Just need a little bit more time. I wanna be out there; we’re looking good. I gotta be healthy. It sucks, especially this early. But it is what it is and just get back as soon as I can. It’s part of the process.”

It’s, unfortunately, been part of the process for the Bulls for the last few seasons as the starting core of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Noah have played fewer than 60 games together since the fall of 2010.

All the attention in the Bulls preseason has been on the recovery and return of Rose, who has played well and looked strong. His playing time is expected to increase these next few preseason games.

But Noah, though practicing with the team, reported a slight groin strain the first week of training camp and sat out the first three preseason games. He played about 20 minutes Wednesday against Detroit and seemed to do well with eight rebounds and three blocks and considerable activity.

But coach Tom Thibodeau at shootaround earlier Friday said the team would shut down Noah for about a week as a precaution with the groin issue.

“He still has a little bit of soreness,” Thibodeau reiterated before Friday’s game. “So we want to make sure he is completely healed before we move forward. The next week lock into the rehab part of it, get completely healthy.

“It’s always a concern when somebody misses,” agreed Thibodeau. “But its part of the game. He’s got to work extremely hard at his conditioning, but he’s got to be careful. We don’t want him to reinjure it. I think it’s important to practice and be part of the team, but he can’t practice if he’s not healthy. We’ll cross that bridge (playing in the opener) when we get there, but the focus right now is concentrate on the rehab.”

Noah indicated he was confident he would be ready to open the season in Miami, though he was curt in pregame comments.

“It is what it is,” Noah repeated. “We got a great opportunity in front of us. It’s part of the game. Of course I’d rather be playing right now, but I’ve got to do the right thing. This is the right thing to do. Just move forward. Just groin stuff. So just have to let it heal and I’ll be back in no time.”

The Bulls open the regular season in Miami when the Heat receive their championship rings Oct. 29 in a national TNT game.

Jimmy Butler also remained out with a sore knee Friday. Butler tested it before the game, but then it was decided to hold him out and Mike Dunleavy started again.

Before long, Rose may be the healthiest guy on the team.

It’s obviously a potential red flag and concern to Bulls fans given the number of injuries in recent seasons, including Rose missing all last season with knee surgery.

But the sense now is this is more precautionary and the team is doing more to be preventative this season knowing there are great expectations for the post season.

Nazr Mohammed started again for Noah, but there was no indication whether Noah’s issues would lead to a free agent center, like Dexter Pittman, being kept on the roster or whether the team will look for another center since Noah’s issue is not considered long term.

What do you think? Leave a comment below: