Joakim Noah is just days removed from the death of his high school AAU coach and long-time mentor Tyrone Green, who died unexpectedly from a heart attack last week at the age of 63.
Despite the sudden lost, coach Tom Thibodeau isn't expecting anything less from his All-Star center.
“Everyone grieves differently, so obviously he’s going through a tough time,” Thibodeau said. “He’s done a good job, in terms of how he’s practiced the last two days. I think he’ll do his job. I think he understands what he has to do. He’s been terrific throughout the course of the season. He’s dealt with a lot of things already. We need everyone to function well.”
Noah missed Friday’s practice after flying to New York for an excused bereavement leave to spend time with Green’s family. He returned to practice on Saturday and went through Sunday morning’s shootaround.
He released a statement through the Bulls about his loss on Saturday.
"I am saddened by the passing of Mr. Green, who was like a second father to me. I will do my best to respect his life and his family in this time of grief and ask that everyone please do the same. I will miss him very much."
Noah finished the regular season with averages of 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and a career-high 5.4 assists.