Washington Wizards v Chicago Bulls

Joakim Noah’s Shoulder Separation Leaves His Chicago Bulls’ Future In Jeopardy

Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah will miss anywhere between four to six months according to CSN Chicago, due to a shoulder separation. The injury happened on Friday night, when the Bulls were hosting the Dallas Mavericks. Noah got tangled up with Dallas’ Javale McGee, when he separated his shoulder.

According to ESPN Chicago, Joakim Noah will soon have surgery to put his shoulder back in place. If the scheduled time frame of four to six months holds true, Joakim Noah will be lost for the season. As of now Joakim Noah’s future with the Bulls is in serious jeopardy.

If Joakim Noah, who is facing free agency this offseason, is unavailable for the playoffs then it is possible fans have seen him in a Chicago Bulls’ uniform for the last time.

Joakim Noah is in pain after injuring his left shoulder. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Joakim Noah is in pain after injuring his left shoulder. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Bulls issued a statement on the status of Joakim Noah’s surgical details.

“The details of the timing, location, and rehabilitation program have not yet been finalized. Noah is expected to have a full recovery.”

What their statement did not include was if Noah would be available if the Bulls were to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, which are scheduled to begin May 17. According to the timetable set for his recovery, the Conference Finals would be equal to Joakim Noah’s earliest possible return date. Unless the Bulls can somehow get some consistency on the defensive side of the ball, Noah’s season is done. His loss will be a costly one. It left Bulls’ power forward Taj Gibson “frustrated”.

“You’ve been going to war with this guy, all kind of different circumstances over eight years, a guy that you pride yourself with especially in practice on a daily basis and he’s one of the emotional leaders on this team. It kind of hits you in the heart seeing him on the bench, seeing him on that table like that. I kind of got flashbacks to how when Derrick got hurt. You don’t want to see your man go down like that. It was frustrating.”

Derrick Rose is the Bulls most recognizable player, Jimmy Butler is their best player, but Joakim Noah is the heart and soul of the team. His importance cannot be explained by the typical statistics. Noah is a hustle player who goes after the 50-50 balls. The energy with which he plays has fueled the team for the past five seasons. This season is a different one. For the Bulls’ two-time all-star, this is a season that he would probably like to forget.

Injuries kept Noah out of 10 of the Bulls’ 39 games. He was averaging 4.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and one block prior to getting hurt. Rookie Bobby Portis will get an extended look in the Bulls’ frontcourt. He has the opportunity to turn Joakim Noah’s loss into a gain.

As for the long-term prospects of Noah returning to the team, everything is in jeopardy. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Bulls’ star was increasingly growing unhappy with his role. His unhappiness, coupled with not being an ideal fit in the offense that head coach Fred Hoiberg employs has led to several NBA trade rumors. His injury puts any talk of trading him on the shelf. It is possible that the Bulls inquire about the NBA injury exception which could be used to absorb the salary of a player acquired in a trade.

The chances of Noah re-signing with the Chicago Bulls are about 50-50.

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Before separating his shoulder, Joakim Noah tried to find his niche with the team. There were games when he reverted to being a playmaker on offense. Since he has exceptional passing skills as a center, facilitating the offense works at times. Then there were times in which the ball did not move much. During those times, Noah looks out of place. He has been a Chicago Bull throughout his career, and will probably want to retire as a Bull, but something suggests that Noah envisions his role as something larger, and deservedly so. He is just two seasons removed from finishing fifth in the NBA Most Valuable Player voting.

Keep a close eye on the head coaching situation of the Brooklyn Nets. The New York Post confirmed that the Nets have reached out to former Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau regarding their vacancy. Given the relationship that was shared between Tom Thibodeau and Joakim Noah, a reunion is not out of the question, especially since Noah has ties to the New York and Brooklyn area. If Thibodeau does become the new head coach of the Nets, there is little doubt that he would be interested in having help from his defensive anchor of the last five seasons.

Joakim Noah’s separated shoulder leaves the Chicago Bulls in a flux and his return in jeopardy. If the game against the Dallas Mavericks is the last time that fans see him in a Bulls’ uniform, it was a great experience.

[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]