Joakim Noah Injury: Updates on Bulls Center's Shoulder and Return

Scott PolacekFeatured Columnist

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah runs down the court with an apparently injured left shoulder during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in Chicago. The Nets won 105-102. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah left Jan. 15's game against the Dallas Mavericks after injuring his shoulder. It's unclear when he will return to the court.

Continue for updates.

Noah Undergoes Surgery

Tuesday, Jan. 19

Head coach Fred Hoiberg said Noah underwent surgery Tuesday morning, per Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald.

Noah Injury Damages Bulls' Defense

This is yet another physical setback for a team that has dealt with injuries seemingly every season since Derrick Rose won the 2010-11 NBA MVP.

Noah himself has been in and out of the lineup the past few seasons, and he sprained his left shoulder in December 2015. He is gradually becoming a role player in the Windy City even though he was a primary piece of the team's core not that long ago.

At his best, Noah is a defensive force who brings energy on the boards and impressive passing for a big man on the offensive end. He can operate in pick-and-rolls with ball-handlers such as Rose and Jimmy Butler and occasionally extends his shooting to mid-range to open up the floor.

He is a two-time All-Star and was named a first-team All-NBA performer and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the 2013-14 season. This season, however, he is averaging 4.4 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 38.2 percent—all well below his career averages.

Fortunately for the Bulls, there are a handful of options down low to fill the void with Noah out. Pau Gasol is a steady force at center, and Nikola Mirotic brings a three-point shot to the forward spot. Elsewhere, Taj Gibson is an impressive rebounder and defender, and rookie Bobby Portis could see more minutes with Noah out of the rotation.