Chicago Bulls could be without Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich in opener

Nov 24, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (right) high fives guard Kirk Hinrich (12) following a basket during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 93-86. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When the Chicago Bulls open the season against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, they could be without two key contributors.

Center Joakim Noah is suffering from a groin injury while point guard Kirk Hinrich has suffered from a concussion.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has ruled them out Wednesday’s preseason game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and said they are “not very [close]” to returning.”

Noah apparently thinks he is closer to a return than his coach does.

“I feel better,” Noah told Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago. “Just working. In my work I’m feeling a lot better and I’m just going to keep going. Keep going until I feel comfortable being out there.”

Last season, Noah averaged 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game in 66 games. He shot .481% from the field and .751 from the free throw line.

Hinrich played more than he thought he would last season due to Derrick Rose’s injury. In 60 games, the 10-year veteran played 29.4 minutes per game, averaging 7.7 points, 5.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

The Bulls will begin the regular season against the Heat Tuesday in Miami.

Topics: Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich

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