Bulls Player Updates: December 11, 2012

Hinrich to Face Clippers:
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:

After sitting out the second half of Saturday’s victory over the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich practiced fully on Monday and will play in Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.¬†Hinrich said he hyper-extended his left elbow to the point it sprained but that treatment on Sunday helped the injury.

That’s obviously great news for a Bulls team already without Derrick Rose (knee rehab) and Richard Hamilton (torn plantar fascia). Hinrich has been dogged by injuries the past couple seasons, and he’s already had to deal with some minor nicks this season (groin, hip, thumb).

Said Hinrich: “It was hurting for the last couple days. It’s feeling much better and it’s good news. [The elbow did alright [at Monday's practice], so hopefully it will improve a little bit by [Tuesday] because in the last couple days I’ve improved a lot.”

Hinrich is shooting a career-worst 35.7 percent this season. So let’s hope that elbow is feeling a lot better by tonight.

Noah to the Next Level:
As ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell noted, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau gave Joakim Noah both a compliment and a challenge after his amazing 30-23-6 game against the Pistons on Friday night.

Said Thibs: “It’s in him. It’s in him. I think he’s got to continue to push himself. I think he could do a lot better than he’s doing right now. He’s worked at his game, but there’s things (in his game) I still think that he could get to that he hasn’t gotten to yet.”

I’ve also been saying Jo could do better than he has been. And don’t get me wrong: Noah has been a beast for much of the season. And yet his production hasn’t increased the way you’d expect it to given that he’s logging nine-plus minutes more per game than he did last season.

His Player Efficiency Rating is down a bit. Ditto for his Effective Field Goal and True Shooting Percentages. His Offensive Rebounding Percentage is at a career-low, and his Defensive and Total Rebounding Percentages are the lowest they’ve been since his rookie season.

Still, his Block and Steal Percentages are up, his Assist Percentage is a career-high by five points, and he’s leading the league in Defensive Win Shares. Extrapolating, Noah is the foundation and safety net of a team defense that ranks third in the league in Defensive Rating (100.5 points per 100 possessions).

And boy, he’s playing lots of minutes. As Friedell noted, during Chicago’s recent four-games-in-five-nights gulag, Noah logged 171:35 out of a possible 192 minutes.

Can you say Iron Man?

Noah was expecting this, though, and he prepared for it. Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald recently discovered the secrets to Jo’s newfound durability.

For starters, based on a suggestion from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Noah has started doing yoga on off-days to help with recovery. He’s also become a proponent of underwater workouts under the tutelage of surfer Laird Hamilton.

Said Noah: “He surfs 60-, 70-foot giants. You fall, you could die. Talk about mental toughness. When you have a 60-foot monster, you can be under (water) for two or three minutes, so you have to train for that. He’ll use weights and do like jumps underwater. He can do like 10 jumps. I can do like three. It’s unbelievable, just for your lung capacity and stuff like that. It really helped me doing these pool workouts.”

Finally, Noah has been following any and all advice he can get from fellow Major Minute Man, Luol Deng.

Said Noah: “Whenever I feel real bad, I always go to Lu and ask him, ‘What should I do?’ He’s been doing this for a long time. He definitely has tricks up his sleeve. Recovery, icing. I think the most important thing is just sleep. I have a hard time with that sometimes, just getting to bed.”

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