May 15, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) is pressured by Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half in game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Joakim Noah Could Miss Opening Night Against Miami Heat

Derrick Rose will be back when the Miami Heat host the Chicago Bulls opening night, but the Bulls could be missing a different key member.

All-star center Joakim Noah has been sidelined for much of the preseason with a sore groin, and head coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t optimistic, he told the Chicago Tribune “he’s completely deconditioned, so we’re very concerned about that.’’

From the Chicago Tribune:

Noah, who has played less than 20 minutes this preseason, tried to paint a more positive picture. He says he feels better but acknowledged missing the high-profile, regular-season opener Tuesday in Miami is in play.

“It’s possible,” Noah said. “But I’m not there yet. In my mind, I’m playing. I want to be out there as soon as I can. We’ll see when that is.”

Rose might be the best player for the Bulls, but Noah is the biggest thorn in the Heat’s side when the teams play. Noah is everything the Heat are not in the paint — big, physical and a rebounding machine. Missing him for one game is a blow for the Bulls, but just like the games were still competitive without Rose, it will be without Noah.

It makes sense for the Bulls to encourage Noah to take his time returning to the court as they hope to be at full strength for a title run this season. Reserve guard Kirk Hinrich has also yet to be cleared following a concussion.

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