Too many of the darkest days with the Chicago Bulls have come about via injury.
Add another one to the list. Joakim Noah's season was effectively ended with the team's announcement that he will have shoulder surgery and will be out 4-6 months.
Noah was struggling mightily offensively all season, but was showing signs of turning it around as of late with a 21 point, 10 rebound effort against the Knicks in the game before he was initially injured against the Nets.
A truly sad day for Bulls fans. Noah's contract was set to expire at the end of this season and it's not clear if he is part of the team's long term future or what, even, the market really is for him. Noah has been with the team for 8 years, second only to Kirk Hinrich on this team.
The Bulls really needed a rejuvenated Noah to be a credible threat to Cleveland. With his injury, it's also not clear what the future is for this season. There were multiple rumors that Noah was on the trading block, so that is nixed. The Bulls are also too late into the season to file a disabled player exception - the deadline expired yesterday.
Vincent Goodwill noted for CSN Chicago that The Bulls' players were upset as well.
"Yeah, it’s tough to lose a guy like Jo who does so much us. But other than basketball I hate to see that happen to a good person like that," Jimmy Butler said. "He’s down, as he should be. It’s the game he loves, he wants to fight for this team. Just being out with the same injury or something like that, I don’t know exactly what it is, but he wants to be out there with us."
"It hurt, it hurt, just knowing how hard he worked, how hard he wants to be on the court, how much he means to this team, it’s devastating."
"Seeing him on the table like that, kinda got a flashback to when Derrick got hurt," forward Taj Gibson said. "You don’t want to see your man go down like that. It is frustrating...It hits you in the heart...the look on his face, is crazy. Because we know how hard he worked just to get back to the team and how much energy he had before the game, he really wanted to play the game, he understands the circumstances, how tired guys was."
If this is the end for Noah as a Bull, there are so many great memories that he has provided the fans. Let's end on a high note here - my favorite Noah memory and the moment where he really started his climb into greatness:
We will have much more on Noah as it becomes more clear if this truly is his last season in Chicago. Good luck to Noah in his recovery and wherever he ends up.