Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah hurt his ankle back in March. You know, back when a league called the National Basketball Association existed and games were actually being played. He sat out about a week, but his ankle was never really right after that. Noah had hoped to play for France in the Eurobasket Championships, which begin later this month, but was sent back to Chicago a couple of weeks ago to continue rehabbing the injury.
Now it seems the ankle is good enough to go back and play.
"After seeing the conclusions from the two specialists, the franchise (Chicago Bulls) doctor should give his accord for Joakim Noah to return to the France team, without having to go to Chicago," the FFBB said Monday on its website.
France is training in Pau this week ahead of the European Championship. France will play Latvia on Aug. 31.
"There's been good progress, and Joakim seems to have recovered well from the little problem he had," France team director Patrick Beesley said. "I am optimistic that he will be in Pau by the end of the week."
A healthy Joakim Noah is pretty crucial to the success of the Chicago Bulls. I know, go ahead and make your jokes about there not being a season anyway, but that's not definite until it's definite (I'll take Yogi Berra quotes bastardized for basketball for $200, Alex). The ankle is a complex, sometimes fragile, and highly punished joint. The last thing you want to see in a basketball player is any kind of lingering injury in the ankle.
So it would behoove the Bulls, if they could somehow filter a message through enough secret channels so as not to get whacked for a million dollars by David Stern, to make sure Noah isn't risking something by playing in the Eurobasket tourney. Eventually, the basketball WILL be back. And even though the memories of this past season have grown foggy thanks to the lockout (and a fair amount of tequila), we still remember that the Bulls are pretty good. And to stay pretty good, they need Noah defending and rebounding. If this thing lingers, it will hurt the Bulls.