Joakim Noah thumb surgery will again put the Chicago Bulls down a man this season. Noah will miss the next 8 to 10 weeks for his thumb surgery, leaving the Bulls shorthanded when it comes to big men. Noah was forced to have the surgery in order to repair a torn ulna collateral ligament in his right thumb, and was set to undergo the procedure Thursday.
According to ESPN, Noah has had the injury for a little while and has been taking anti-inflammatories to deal with the tear. He has apparently had enough of the pain, and will undergo the procedure in order to get back to top form this season. Having Noah at his best could become a really crucial part to the success the Chicago Bulls find in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
This is doubly frustrating for the Bulls, who just recently saw power forward Carlos Boozer get back on the court after dealing with a severe injury of his own during the preseason. Now the Bulls will again have to find a way to step up in the absence of one of their best players, and it isn’t going to be an easy transition for this team.
The 25-year-old center out of the University of Florida has been playing an integral part of the Bulls defense and offense in the low post this year. He is averaging 14 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, and could very well have been voted to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game as a backup to supposed started center Dwight Howard. That’s high praise for Noah, but equally disheartening for Bulls fans who thought this team was close to being at full strength.
It’s not going to be easy for the Bulls to fill the nearly 37 minutes of game time that Noah gave them every night, but it will be even harder to make up for the presence he has in offensive rebounding. Noah is one of the best in the league, averaging four offensive rebounds per game, adding to his overall average of nearly 12 per game. It’s possible that Boozer could pick up some of that slack, but the Bulls are going to feel very shorthanded.
So far in the 2010-11 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls have pulled out to a five game lead in the Central Division. They are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference right now, posting a 16-8 overall record through the early games. The closest team is the Indiana Pacers (in the division), at 11-13 for the season. It shows that the Bulls might have a bit of time to get all of their players back on the court, and this injury won’t be a death sentence to the team either.