CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will be held out of all basketball-related activities for about a week in hopes that the rest will clear up his lingering groin strain.
“He still has a little bit of soreness,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Friday before the Bulls played the Indiana Pacers in a preseason game. “We want to make sure he’s completely healed before we move on. We don’t want him to re-injure it. We want him to rehab and focus on getting healthy.”
Noah was injured early in training camp and missed the Bulls’ first three preseason games before playing 19 minutes Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons. Afterward, he said he felt “great,” but the soreness in the groin returned on Thursday.
“I want to be out there,” Noah said. “We’re looking good. But I’ve got to be healthy. It sucks, especially this early in the season, but it is what it is and I’ll just get back as soon as I can.”
If Noah does sit out exactly a week, that would give him four days to get in playing shape before the team’s regular-season opener against the Miami Heat on Oct. 29. Noah said that would be enough time for him to be ready, but Thibodeau was noncommittal.
“We’re going to make sure he’s healthy,” the coach said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
With Derrick Rose back in the lineup after missing all of last season following knee surgery, the Bulls are expected to be title contenders this season if everyone remains healthy.
“We have a great opportunity in front of us,” Noah said. “It’s a part of the game. Of course, I’d rather be playing right now, but you have to do the right thing. This is the right thing to do.”
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