The Chicago Bulls’ season has not been going well lately with Jimmy Butler leadership drama dominating the headlines and the Bulls on a three-game losing streak. The timing could not be worse for the Joakim Noah to get injured, but that’s what seems to have happened.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Noah will miss two weeks with a sprained shoulder. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told Johnson:
“He’s obviously very sore,” Hoiberg said. “That shoulder popped out of joint for a brief second. He’s going to be sore and stiff. So it’s rehabbing for the next couple weeks and then re-evaluating from there.”
And Noah’s long-time and oft-embattled teammate, Derrick Rose offered:
“It’s always huge when you lose a player like Jo, just the energy he brings,” Derrick Rose said. “It’s devastating. Even though people talk about his scoring, his presence on the floor means a lot to this team.”
While much is made about who the “leader” of the team is, and whether it’s Rose or Butler, the reality is that distinction goes to Noah, who is the heart, soul and head of the Bovines in the locker room. Noah told Zach Lowe his analysis of the Bulls problems:
“I mean, what is the identity of this team?” Noah asks, a few days before going down with a shoulder injury. “It’s hard to say. Our identity has always been: You come to Chicago, you’re in for a war. It’s not like that right now. I don’t care what the numbers say. Just watch the games. There are 25,000 people in the building, and it’s dead quiet. It has never been like that. It’s tough to see the building that way. And it’s on us. You bring the fire, and they will love you here. But if you’re coasting, playing this low-energy game — I’m not sure we can win like that.”
Beyond any measurables, the Bulls lose their fire starter at the worst possible time.