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.