Bulls' Noah still on the mend, remains upbeat

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Bulls' Noah still on the mend, remains upbeat

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
Posted 9:09 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Injured Bulls center Joakim Noah was in an upbeat mood when addressing the media to provide an update on his progress from his December thumb surgery.

Ive been working for a little while and just ready to get this cast off and get back to work, said Noah. Im just trying to be patient and try to stay in high spirits.

I just want to come back as soon as possible. As soon as my hand is healthy, I want to be back there, regardless of what game it is, the charismatic center continued. I knew I was going to take the pin out Tuesday, so I dont really know if its quicker than usual, but everythings been on schedule.

Noah expressed optimism that hed be able to go on the teams upcoming, five-game West Coast road trip Monday, which coincides with the date his cast is removed.

Right now, Im getting this cast off on Monday, before we leave and then I will rehab it until my hand gets strong, and then I will be out there on the court as soon as I can, said Noah, who acknowledged it was Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeaus decision as to whether he traveled with the team. Its Thibs decision, unfortunatelyI told him that I was going to get on the plane and hed have to kick me off and physically take me off. I really want to go on this trip. Its cold out here right now, so Im excited to spend some time with my teammates.

For Thibodeaus part, the coach told reporters Wednesday that Noahwho was working on drills with his left hand at the end of Wednesdays practice, much to the delight of teammate Carlos Boozerwould most likely make the trip.

Hes on schedule, maybe a little ahead of schedule, but now he has to strengthen the hand, said Thibodeau. The next step will be getting him on to the court to do non-contact stuff. Hes probably still maybe a week or two away from that. Then, once he can get through the non-contact part of practice, the step after that will be the contact part of practice. When he gets through that, then he plays. Hes still two steps away.

Hes in good spirits. Hes working out. He still cant do anything on the court, but hes doing his conditioning and his strength stuff, Thibodeau continued. I know hes anxious to get back. Hes doing everything that he can. Hes done a great job with his conditioning while hes been hurt. He just has to be patient.

While Noah admitted that conditioning and doing drills with his left hand is nothing like playing in the games, hes striving to be as close to game speed upon his return.

Right now, Im just trying to control what I can control and thats get this hand better, get this cast off, rehab, do as much as I can with my left hand and condition and strengthening, stuff like that. When Im out there, I want to help this team the best way I can, but we have been playing great. Kurt Thomas has been doing a great job for us, said Noah. Its definitely differentjust running up and down compared to all the pounding, physicality and pushing of the game; theres no way to prepare for thatbut Im just doing what I can control and doing the best that I can. Just conditioning, jump rope, squats.

Right now, Im in a cast so theres not much that I can do, but once I get the cast off, thats when I start the rehab, he continued. Its part of the process. I guess theres worse things, but just being in a castIm claustrophobic, so at night sometimes I freak out when I have the castbut hey, four more days.

Noah praised the doctors who performed the procedure, injecting his typical quirkiness to the explanation.

The doctors did a great job getting the pin out. It was a little bent apparently. Its usually a 10-minute procedure and it took a little bit longer than that. Its probably my fault. Im happy that its done and I dont have a pin in my finger anymore. Im just waiting for it to healI must have lifted weights or somethingdone somethingthe doctor wasnt very happy about it.

Im happy that he got the pin out without it breaking.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you're ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

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- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

The NBA announced Saturday that it has suspended former Bulls and current Knicks center Joakim Noah for 20 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy.

He tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement called selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033, which is prohibited under the current collective bargaining agreement but would not have been under the new CBA starting next year, according to ESPN's Marc Spears.

It was announced in February that Noah would miss the remainder of the season with a left knee injury. His suspension will carry over into the 2017-18 campaign with only 10 games left this year.

Noah averaged 5.0 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game in 46 games in his first of a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks.