His Olympic dream is over before it even really began. Bulls starting (and only) center has decided to forego the 2012 London Olympics and will not be representing Team France as was earlier reported. Noah is still nursing a severely sprained ankle he suffered in Game 3 of the the Bulls ugly first round exit from the playoffs.
If you remember, Noah dressed for the fatal Game 6 matchup but didn’t not play.
Joakim Noah told L’Equipe that he simply was not ready to play basketball again and wasn’t ready to risk further injuring his already tender ankle.
“I’m absolutely not ready, not ready to run, not ready to jump,” Noah told L’Equipe. “And even less to play. I need more time and work. I’m not in form for someone who wants to compete in the Olympics. And given the problems that I have with my ankles, not going to the Games seemed to be the most reasonable decision.”
The news is both troubling and relieving. Bulls fans were torn over the fact that Noah wanted to play in the Olympics and fufil his dream at the possible expense of NBA playing time. But now Noah can fully rest his ankle all summer long and prepare himself for his return to the Bulls.
But the flip side of that is Noah still isn’t physically able to do any of the things he needs to two months after injuring himself. When he sprained it, it was widely known that it was a severe injury based on the swelling and Noah’s physical appearance so this set back may have been expected.
But it’s still not encouraging that Noah is in the shape he’s in and it may begin to draw into question whether he’ll be back to 100 percent when the NBA season tips off.
Now that’s not until November to Noah clearly has more time to recover than he did for the Olympics, but given the thin roster the Bulls have due to injury, Noah is invaluable.
The loss of Omer Asik also no doubt played a role in this decision. Noah is now the only center on roster for the Bulls and should he miss significant time, the Bulls don’t have a viable backup beyond using Taj Gibson there. Using Gibson isn’t the worst idea in the world but there’s no one beyond him and after the injury riddled season of 2012, the Bulls will be cautious with depth in the future.
But that’s all 4 months away and Noah is expected to be back in playing shape by then. Unfortunately for his native France, he’s not in that shape now and will be out of the Olympics. France is experiencing the shockwaves of the NBA injury epidemic as point guard is also recovering from his eye injury and his status is in doubt.
Noah’s status isn’t. He is for sure missing the Olympics which ensures that he is going to try and be ready for the opening tip of the 2013 NBA season.