ST. LOUIS — Joakim Noah missed the Bulls’ preseason-opening win Saturday in Indiana and will be sidelined for Monday night’s contest against Memphis in St. Louis, both he and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau confirmed before the team’s morning shootaround at the Scottrade Center, the site where their game against the Grizzlies will be played.
However, the All-Star center is on the mend from a groin injury suffered in training camp and participated in Sunday’s practice at St. Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena, increasing the chances that he’ll play in the Bulls’ Oct. 12 exhibition game against Washington in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“It was good,” Noah said of his participation in Sunday’s practice. “I feel a lot better. Got a little more ways to go, but I feel a lot better. It felt good to be back in practice.”
Thibodeau concurred: “He did all of practice so he’s feeling better. He’ll do more today [at the shootaround], but he won’t play tonight.”
“Pretty good,” the coach went on to say about Noah’s chances of playing in Rio. “I just want him to get some practices under his belt. We’ll see where he is after today.”
Noah tried not to look ahead to the trip to Brazil, though his smile betrayed his excitement.
“It’s going to be great, but right now, it’s all about one day at a time,” he said. “I’m excited for Brazil. It’s going to be a great time. We’ve got a game tonight. I’m just trying to get better today and get ready for that one.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a beautiful culture. Great music, great people, a lot of energy and you know we’re going there to represent the Bulls. It’s as good as it gets. We’re going to work hard and enjoy the trip.”