Joakim Noah injury to be reassessed in Rio
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter October 5, 2013 10:58PM
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, left, and point guard Derrick Rose sit on the bench in the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: November 7, 2013 6:58AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Gray skinny jeans and a wrinkled blue blazer weren’t exactly what Joakim Noah envisioned he’d be wearing on the night of Derrick Rose’s highly anticipated return to the court.
But street clothes might be his uniform of choice for the next week.
Noah missed the game Saturday against the Indiana Pacers with a strained groin that had been slowing him down the last four days, and coach Tom Thibodeau said Noah likely would sit out the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday in St. Louis.
The Bulls then head to Brazil, and that’s when the injury will be reassessed.
“I’m not comfortable right now with [Noah] going out there without some practices under his belt,’’ Thibodeau said. “He’s doing more and more each day, and we’re probably doing a little bit more at the shootaround than we normally would. So he’s going in that, and once we get through this stretch and get some practices, then we’ll get him out there.’’
The Bulls travel to Rio de Janeiro late Monday night, and in the three practices they have scheduled leading up to the exhibition against the Washington Wizards, Noah will have plenty of time to catch up.
“I want to see him go through some practices first where there’s some contact,’’ Thibodeau said. “I don’t want him going out there without taking some contact first.’’
Noah’s groin might be lagging, but his trash-talking was in midseason form.
After forward David West scored the first two baskets of the game for the Pacers, Noah yelled, “I would lock that [bleep] up!’’
All West could do was smile.
Noah is taking the injury in stride, knowing that all that matters is he’s 100 percent for the regular-season opener in Miami at the end of the month.
“The first game, you want to be there,’’ Noah said. “It’s a groin. I don’t want it to linger for a long time, so I’m doing what I can, and I’ll be back in no time.’’
Battling it out
The Bulls went into training camp with one clear opening on the roster, and through the first week, there has been no separation among free agents Dahntay Jones, Mike James and Dexter Pittman.
Thibodeau said the last spot will be decided by best fit rather than position.
“I think we’ll also have a better understanding as time goes on about what the needs of our team will be,’’ Thibodeau said.
“Whether it’s a big or a small, we’ll determine that as we go forward.’’