As was hinted at in the aftermath of Tuesday’s season-ending first-round playoff loss, Joakim Noah had surgery on his ailing left knee, the Bulls announced Friday.
The All-Star center was clearly hobbled in the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Wizards at the United Center and while he was reluctant to discuss the injury—“It’s good,” Noah said Wednesday, as he departed the Berto Center following team exit interviews—but Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged that the squad’s defensive anchor and offensive facilitator had been playing in pain for some time.
“It flared up at one point. He had it drained and it was good for a long time,” the coach explained Wednesday, a day after revealing that Noah had dealt with the injury throughout the second half of the regular season. “It came back, so we have to see what’s going on.”
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Friday’s procedure was minor arthroscopic surgery to clean out the knee, successfully performed by Bulls team physician Dr. Brian Cole. Noah will be sidelined during the offseason for eight to 12 weeks as he rehabilitates, but true to his trademark competitive nature, he downplayed the injury and instead focused on recuperating from the Bulls’ first-round exit.
“It was a long season. Disappointed in the way it ended, but I’m very thankful for all my teammates and now it’s time to rest and regroup, and get it together,” he said Wednesday. “There was a lot of adversity this year, but we’re just disappointed with the way it ended. We feel like we could have done more.”