Joakim Noah is back. The veteran big man will make his return from a shoulder injury when the Bulls host the Washington Wizards on Monday night, coach Fred Hoiberg has confirmed.
Noah has missed the last nine games, with the Bulls going 7-2 over that time. Hoiberg said Noah won't be on a minutes restriction in his return, but the Bulls will be cautious bringing him back.
Hoiberg has previously said rookie Bobby Portis will remain in the rotation even when Noah makes his return. Since Noah's injury, Portis has averaged 20.5 minutes, putting up 7.7 points and seven rebounds per game.
Noah was starting to improve his play before the injury. He averaged 6.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in December on 44.3 percent shooting from the field. On the season, Noah's 42.8 true shooting percentage ranks among the worst marks in the NBA for qualified players.
The Bulls got hot with Noah out of the lineup, with the offense starting to come into its own while he was out. The schedule will start to get tougher later this month:
The Bulls are currently 22-13, tied with the Raptors for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.