Joakim Noah's season - and perhaps career in a Bulls uniform - is likely over, but his former coach thinks his team will be just fine.
Tom Thibodeau has been a guest analyst on ESPN's SportsCenter this week, and was asked about what the Bulls will lose with Noah sidelined four-to-six months after separating his left shoulder.
"Jo's the heart and soul of the team. He's the anchor of the defense, he's a leader. He brings a lot to the team," Thibodeau said. "But they have great quality depth, and Bobby Portis didn't play much tonight but he was a terrific pick by the Bulls. He's going to be a great player for them.
"And then they have great quality depth with (Pau) Gasol, Taj Gibson and (Nikola) Mirotic. They can get this done. And they played without Jo before, so I think they understand what they have to do. They're going to lose some rebounding, but that'll be a team responsibility now."
The Bulls passed their first test of the year without their emotional leader, going 7-2 after Noah suffered a left shoulder sprain on Dec. 21. They also topped the Pistons on Monday afternoon.
[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
And while their depth will undoubtedly take a hit, the Bulls actually have been 2.1 points per 100 possessions better with Noah off the court than on it. That can't account for the intangibles Noah brings to the team and locker room, but from a purely basketball standpoint the Bulls should manage.
One area they may struggle is on the glass. Though Noah was averaging 8.8 rebounds per game, the lowest mark of his career since 2009, the Bulls' rebound percentage is 10.4 percent better with Noah on the floor than off it, a considerable percentage.
Thibodeau, no stranger to the injuries the Bulls suffered in his six seasons as head coach, believes that experience will help the Bulls push through Noah's sidelining.
"It's a big hit, but this team has been through a lot of injuries in the past," he said. "And I think they have a good understanding of how to get through that. They're not going to do it individually, they're going to have to do it collectively."
Put another way: Do your job.