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Knicks’ Joakim Noah expected to play on Saturday despite injury

October 23, 2015: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls waiting to get in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. Bulls 103 Mavericks 102. (Photo by John S. Peterson/Icon Sportswire)
John Peterson/Icon Sportswire

New York Knicks’ head coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters on Thursday that center Joakim Noah should be ready to play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Boston Celtics.

Noah did not play in any of New York’s first three preseason games due to a strained hamstring. The Knicks say Noah did not practice on Thursday due to a sore right ankle. The ankle problem apparently is not problematic enough at this point to keep him out of game action, however.

The Knicks signed the veteran big man to a four-year deal worth $72 million over the summer after he spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Chicago Bulls. After winning the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and finishing fourth in MVP voting in 2013-2014, Noah has been limited thanks to a slew of injuries. He appeared in 67 games in 2014-2015, but was only healthy for 29 games last season.

Clearly, the Knicks are banking on the 31-year-old’s recent injury issues as being a thing of the past.

Noah has averaged 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game throughout the course of his NBA career. He also developed into one of the game’s premiere passing big men, even averaging better than five assists during his peak 2013-2014 campaign.

New York did plenty of retooling over the summer, bringing in Noah’s longtime Bulls teammate in point guard Derrick Rose as well as swingman Courtney Lee. They also hired Hornacek to replace Kurt Rambis, who coached the final 28 games of last season after Derek Fisher was fired.

The Knicks will get the regular season underway on October 25 in Cleveland against the Cavaliers.

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