Noah struggling while Hinrick awaits clearance.
The Chicago Bulls have fitness concerns ahead of season tip-off against the Miami Heat next Tuesday with Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich doubtful.
Both players missed Wednesday’s pre-season win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, with coach Tom Thibodeau admitting that they are “not very [close]” to returning.
Having played just 20 minutes in pre-season, Noah has been struggling with an on-going groin problem, while Hinrich suffered concussion after a collision with Indiana Pacers rookie Eddie Murphy last week.
While Noah was a bit more optimistic about his chances, stating that it “was possible” that he may have to sit for the Miami clash, Thibodeau delivered a more frank assessment of his position.
“Today is like the first time he could shoot a ball and it’s just basically straight ahead stuff,” Thibodeau said before Wednesday night’s game according to ESPN.
“He’s completely deconditioned, so we’re very concerned about that.”
Meanwhile, Hinrich returned to running on Wednesday but has yet to receive clearance from the league’s concussion protocol despite his headaches easing.
In contrast there was some positive news on the injury front for the Bulls, with Jimmy Butler playing on Wednesday after recovering from a week off with knee soreness.
Nevertheless, it will be disappointing for Chicago if they are unable to start the season with a fully healthy roster at Thibodeau’s disposal, but they will understand the necessity to allow players to recover in their own time.
Point guard Derrick Rose has looked back to his explosive best in pre-season, and continued his fine form with another 26 points in the win against Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.