CHICAGO — Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah will undergo surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder and miss the next four to six months, the NBA club announced on Saturday.
The Bulls’ estimated timetable means at best Noah would not be healthy enough to return until the NBA playoffs were half over.
Noah suffered the injury during Friday’s 83-77 loss to Dallas when he became entangled with Mavericks center JaVale McGee. Noah departed the court in pain and an MRI exam Saturday confirmed the severity of his injury.
Noah has been used as a reserve this season by the Bulls but in almost 22 minutes a game is averaging 8.8 rebounds with a career-worst 4.3 points.
Details of the surgery and Noah’s rehabilitation program to stabilize the shoulder have not yet been finalized, but he is expected to fully recover.
“Tough news on @JoakimNoah,” tweeted former Bulls star Scottie Pippen. “But if anyone has the fire and determination to put in the work and get back to where he needs to be, it’s Jo.”
But as an unrestricted free agent after this season, it’s also possible Noah has played his final game for the Bulls, who took him in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Noah injured the same shoulder last month and missed nine games. He was in his fourth game back when he was hurt again.
At 23-16, the Bulls are third in the Eastern Conference, trailing only pace-setter Cleveland and Toronto, and seventh in the league overall.
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