After suffering an injury to his hand on Wednesday night as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Detroit Pistons, center Joakim Noah underwent tests on the hand on Thursday. According to a report from Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, the tests revealed that Noah has a sprained thumb, which is a relief that it’s nothing more serious.
However, the Bulls are in a place right now where they must be cautious regarding Noah’s injury. Chicago currently sits in the four-seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, but are the same number of games back in the conference as the third-seeded Toronto Raptors. Moreover, the Bulls hold a two-game lead over the fifth-seeded Washington Wizards.
Since the Bulls lost Derrick Rose and traded Luol Deng¸ this team has seemed to only fight harder to make it to the postseason and prove doubters wrong. No player for Chicago has personified that toughness and fortitude better than Noah has over the last five weeks.
Since Feb. 1, Noah’s performance has been off-the-charts good for Chicago. Playing in 35.4 minutes per game, the center is averaging 12.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, one steal and 1.6 blocks per game while hitting 53.7 percent of his shots from the floor. On both ends of the floor and in nearly every facet of the game, Noah has been guiding the Bulls to success.
With this injury to his thumb and with the Bulls’ position for the playoffs, though, Chicago needs to take it slow. There’s no word on whether or not Noah will be available for the Bulls’ next game on Friday, but the wise move would be to sideline him for a week or just a couple of games. This team isn’t a title contender, but they aren’t going to cause as many problems as they possibly could if Noah’s not at full-strength. As a result, the Bulls have to do what’s necessary with his thumb injury to make sure that’s the case when the playoffs begin.