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Joakim Noah out at least two weeks

Joakim Noah sprained his shoulder in the Bulls’ ugly loss to the Nets last night. A day after Jimmy Butler said his coach wasn’t tough enough, Fred Hoiberg accused the players of not being tough enough.

Just when Chicago needs it least, here’s more bad news.

Sean Highkin:

Noah is the Bulls’ emotional leader. Facing problems on and off the court, they’ll particularly miss him now. He just can’t have the same influence if he’s not on the court battling with his teammates.

They’ll miss him in a micro sense, too. Despite his scoring falling off a cliff, Noah remains helpful off the bench as a defender and distributor.

Chicago’s schedule the next two weeks:

  • Dec. 25 at Thunder
  • Dec. 26: at Mavericks
  • Dec. 28: vs. Raptors
  • Dec. 30: vs. Pacers
  • Jan. 1: vs. Knicks
  • Jan 3.: at Raptors

At least this will be an opportunity to get Bobby Portis into the rotation without cramming Nikola Mirotic to small forward, a position he’s ill-suited to play.

There’s room for the Bulls to grow with their overloaded frontcourt a little less clogged. But if they make progress without Noah, that’ll lead to big questions once he gets healthy.

On the other hand, if the continue to slump in Noah’s absence, the questions will be a lot sharper.