Joakim Noah to miss at least two weeks with sprained shoulder
The Chicago Bulls’ wild roller coaster ride just got a little bumpier.
Head coach Fred Hoiberg announced on Tuesday that an MRI revealed a sprained shoulder for former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, who will be out for at least two weeks as a result (per Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report).
Fred Hoiberg says Joakim Noah had an MRI this morning. Sprained shoulder. Will be reevaluated in two weeks.
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) December 22, 2015
Noah apparently suffered the injury after getting tangled up with Andrea Bargnani in the third quarter of Monday’s 105-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
The two-time All-Star has posted unexceptional averages this season of 4.5 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, and 1.1 blocks per game on 40.7 percent shooting from the field, largely due to a new bench role and decreased mobility thanks to various ailments that have piled up over the years.
Noah had really been picking up his game in the month of December, however, and the 15-11 Bulls will greatly miss his vocal leadership on the defensive end of the floor and his offensive playmaking from the high post.
An extended absence from Noah is the last thing the Bulls need especially with the team being in the headlines recently for All-Star wing Jimmy Butler clashing both with teammates and with rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg. Now, Noah’s injury will mean an even greater responsibility for Butler on defense, which could push the team to the brink of total implosion.
The Bulls do have the frontcourt depth to absorb Noah’s modest 22.3 minutes per game (maybe this is the opportunity for exciting rookie Bobby Portis to finally bulldoze his way into the rotation). But the 30-year-old Noah is still an integral part of the team’s identity, and it will be difficult for the Bulls to replicate his value for the next couple of weeks.