So much for being “deconditioned.’’
After Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau made it seem like Joakim Noah and his groin strain were a long shot to be ready for the start of the regular season Tuesday night in Miami, Sunday’s practice offered up a different opinion.
As did Noah.
“Oh, I’m optimistic about Miami, yeah,’’ Noah said. “I feel 100 percent right now, I have no problems in my groin. I wanted to play in that last preseason game, but Thibs said no. I was pissed about it, but I think it was the right decision.’’
Noah played just 19 minutes in one preseason game because of the injury, and Thibodeau made it seem like he wasn’t in good enough shape to play against the Heat. Even after Noah went through a full Sunday practice, Thibodeau was expressing concerns.
“No, everyone needs conditioning,’’ Thibodeau said. “Everyone needs practice. It’s a team sport. You need everyone working together. You put your team together piece by piece and he’s a big part of the team. We need him out there. You need reps together. That’s important.’’
But unless there is a major setback with the groin, the All-Star center expects to play.
“No,’’ Noah replied, when asked if there was any way he would miss out on playing the Heat. “I mean if my groin was still bothering me we’d have to talk about it because I didn’t want this to linger all season. It would have been really tough to sit out a game that I’ve been waiting for all summer, that I’ve been training for all summer. It would have been tough.’’
The news was equally as good for Kirk Hinrich, who had been sidelined the last week with a concussion and then a sore shoulder.
Hinrich also went through a full practice, and felt like he would be ready to come off the bench in Miami.
“Yeah, it’s feeling good,’’ Hinrich said. “Like I said, I was able to get this practice under my belt, have practice tomorrow and I should be good to go.’’