The Chicago Bulls have been without center Joakim Noah since the middle of December. And before too long the Central Division leading Bulls will get a big boast when Noah returns to action.

“It’s coming off [Monday],” K.C. Johnson, of the Chicago Tribune, said on the Mully and Hanley Show when talking about Noah’s cast. “All that’s going to allow him to do is obviously accelerate his rehab, because then he can start strengthening his hand.”

LISTEN: K.C. Johnson On The Mully And Hanley Show

It isn’t as if Noah has just been sitting around waiting to start getting ready for game action again. One of the positives of Noah’s injury was that it allowed him to stay active, and that will help him be more productive when he returns.

“He’s been doing as much conditioning as he can, because his legs haven’t been effected,” Johnson said. “And he’s been doing a lot of basketball stuff with his left hand: dribbling, shooting, left handed hooks, that kind of stuff…Hopefully he’ll travel with the team on this west coast trip.”

The Bulls will play five road games over the course of the next two weeks before returning to the United Center for a pair of games before the All-Star break.

“He’s been hesitant to project [his return],” Johnson said of Noah, “I don’t think he knows. It’s going to depend on just how quickly that hand strengthens and how it reacts to the rehab and that stuff. I still think it’ll be right around the All-Star break. Whether it’s the game just before or the game just after.”

The Bulls play the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday at the Staples Center.

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