Two nights after making his preseason debut, Joakim Noah will be back on the shelf as he continues to rehab a strained groin. Jimmy Butler will also sit out for the second straight preseason game as he recovers from a left knee contusion. Mike Dunleavy will get the start.
Noah played just under 20 minutes in Wednesday night’s win over Detroit, but reported discomfort afterwards. The plan is to shut him down for a week and let the All-Star center focus on recovery.
“He still has a little bit of soreness, so we want to make sure he’s completely healed before we move forward,” Thibodeau said. “So the next week, just lock into the rehab part of It and get completely healthy.
“It’s always a concern whenever somebody misses [time]. But that’s part of the game, so you have to deal with it. He just has to work extremely hard at his conditioning, but he has to be careful. We don’t want him to re-injure it. We want him to take care of it, focus in on the rehab –lock into that. I think it’s important to practice and be part of the team, but he can’t practice if he isn’t healthy.”
The injury occurred during the first week of training camp and has left Noah unable to participate in but a couple of practices since sustaining the injury after slipping on a wet floor at the Bulls practice facility.
Noah was unsure if he would be able to participate in the preseason finale next Friday vs. the Denver Nuggets, but said he didn’t expect his groin to be a lingering issue once the season began and he expected to have enough time to be ready for the season opener on Oct. 29 against the Miami Heat.
“It sucks, especially this early in the season but it is what it is,” Noah said. “Just get back as soon as I can.”