Bulls Joakim Noah to Undergo Thumb Surgery Tomorrow, Could Miss 10 Weeks

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Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has bravely battled plantar fascitis last season. Playing through the pain, he blossomed into one of the best youne rebounders in the NBA, and a double-double machine. His 2010-11 season will be much like his ’09-10, in that Noah will be battling a nagging injury through it. He could miss as much as ten weeks.

It was announced tonight that he will have surgery to repair a torn ulna collateral ligament in his right thumb.  The surgery will be performed tomorrow morning by Dr. Mark Cohen and Dr. John Fernandez of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center.

Noah was first injured in the Nov. 27 game at Sacramento, and he has played the last two weeks with ongoing discomfort and slight functional impairment.   Additionally, Noah has had significant sprains of his right index and middle fingers, which will not require surgery.

“Joakim’s injury presentation was unusual in that he was able to function at a high level with the injury.  More often, athletes are unable to play at all due to pain and instability of the thumb,” said Chicago Bulls Head Team Physician Brian Cole.

“As the days proceeded from the original injury, it became clear for all that surgery was best for Joakim,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.  “We have always valued Joakim’s toughness and willingness to put the team above himself, but in this case his health took precedence.”

Noah has started every Bulls game this year, and entering tonight’s game at Toronto, he had averaged 14.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg (fifth in the NBA), 2.8 apg, 1.61 bpg (16th), 1.22 spg, 37.2 mpg (18th).  He also had shot .511 (28th) from the field and .724 from the free throw line.

Noah also ranked in the top 10 in the NBA in offensive rebounds (third), offensive rebounds per game (fourth), defensive rebounds per game (sixth), total rebounds (sixth), double-doubles (sixth) and defensive rebounds (ninth).

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com

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