With the insult comes the injury for Joakim Noah, as the Bulls’ center writhed in pain with a left shoulder injury after reaching in on a shot from Andrea Bargnani in their not-so-shocking 105-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center.
He was exiting the locker room gingerly before speaking to reporters briefly on his way out.
“I just felt it pop, I put it back in,” he said simply. “I got the X-ray, it came back negative so that’s a positive.”
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It sure looked like a dislocation of some kind the way it popped out and the expletives that followed while Noah tried to negotiate the pain in the third quarter. He’ll have an MRI Tuesday morning to determine the extent of the damage, but he sounded pretty despondent about the injury while talking.
“Nah, Just see how I feel tomorrow, hopefully it’s not too long,” said Noah when asked if he knew how long he would be out of action. “MRI tomorrow morning.”
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Noah was a key cog in the Bulls’ lone spurt of legit energy through the night, in the second quarter where he teamed with Bobby Portis and a few others to deliver some normalcy.
But the potential of being without Noah for an extended time could be “devastating” said his close teammate Derrick Rose.
“He’s an important player, brings a lot of energy to what we do,” said center Pau Gasol. “If he misses games it’ll be harder. When a guy goes down there’s an opportunity for another guy to step up and do what he can to help us win.”
The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.
1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.
2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…
3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling.
On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.
The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?
Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.
Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: