According to ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell:
“Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is expected to play Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors despite ongoing issues with his right hand. The Bulls are concerned there may be ligament damage in his right thumb, according to sources familiar with the situation. Bulls general manager Gar Forman told ESPNChicago.com before Wednesday morning’s shootaround that the Bulls are still evaluating the situation and Noah will be re-examined once he returns to Chicago on Thursday.”
And here’s the real kick in the you-know-what:
“If an examination reveals the need for surgery, he would most likely be out a minimum of eight weeks.”
I don’t need to tell you how important Noah is to the Bulls. He leads the team in Offensive and Defensive Rating (discounting Kurt Thomas and James Johnson because they’re so rarely used) and ranks second in Player Efficiency Rating and Win Sharers. And, obviously, he’s one of the league’s best rebounders.
Derrick Rose is the only player on this team more indispensible than Noah. Of course, Derrick is hurting too. And while Derrick is the focus of Chicago’s offense, Noah is the foundation of the defense.
Well, all we can do is wait. And I guess somebody better start oiling up Kurt Thomas’ joints.