Joakim Noah’s thumb injury, suffered in Wednesday’s Bulls win in Detroit, won’t prevent the All-Star center from suiting up for Friday night’s home game against Memphis.
Noah took extra shots after the Bulls’ morning shootaround at the United Center, as is customary habit, and while he wore a splint on his right hand, the team’s leading rebounder, assist man and shot-blocker insisted he’d be able to play through the injury, explaining that it isn’t as severe as the ligament damage he suffered during the 2010-11 campaign, leading to surgery and an extended absence during that season.
“Well, it’s the same thumb. That’s about it,” said Noah, coming off his third triple-double of the season in the win against the Pistons. “I don’t have cut into it. No surgery. Everything’s good. I feel good. I’m all right.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau agreed with the assessment and confirmed that Noah will be in the lineup against the Grizzlies.
“It’s just a sprain. He’s fine,” the coach said. “He was fine in the shootaround.”
Thibodeau also explained that the injury wasn’t as bad as the situation back in 2010 and that it shouldn’t adversely affect Noah’s game, though the interior player has some finesse parts to his skill set.
“I guess from a medical standpoint, the ligament is fine. That was the positive thing about that,” Thibodeau said. “It’s hard to categorize who he is because he is an energy, toughness type player. But there’s an aspect of his game that is guard-like in terms of his ability to dribble, pass and make plays. That’s where he is so good. I think this time of the year, every player is nicked up in some way and then, do you have the toughness to get past it? He certainly does. He has done a great job of leading the team. We need everybody.”