A bit lost in the hubbub of Joakim Noah's second triple-double in three games was the fact Noah wore a protective splint on his right thumb after the Bulls beat the Pistons on Wednesday night. Noah downplayed the injury, and Tom Thibodeau confirmed Friday it was just a sprain and the big man would play against the Grizzlies in the evening.
There was some minor concern initially because the thumb was the same one that cost Noah 30 games during the 2010-11 season due to surgery to repair the ulna collateral ligament. But Noah said the injury was "just a boo-boo" after the Pistons game, and the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson reported Thursday things didn't appear serious.
ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell reported Thursday night the injury was just a sprain, which was then confirmed by Thibs at shootaround. Noah and the Bulls begin a tough home stand on Friday, which features games against the Grizzlies, Heat, Spurs, Rockets and Thunder (Kings, too).
Noah's matchup against Marc Gasol arguably pits the league's two best passing big men against each other. The Grizzlies struggled mightily when Gasol missed time with an MCL injury earlier in the year, but they've come on strong of late.
The Bulls beat the Grizzlies 95-91 on Dec. 30 when Gasol was out of the lineup.