There was certainly a difference between Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah‘s production during the regular season and his production during the Bulls’ first round playoff series against the Washington Wizards.
Throughout the regular season, Noah was filled with energy and that energy would often lift the Bulls. During the playoffs, Noah seemed to be lacking energy and that may have contributed to the overall lifeless effort by the Bulls against the Wizards.
After the Bulls’ series-ending loss to the Wizards in game 5 on Tuesday, Noah admitted that he has been playing through a knee injury.
“My knee is bothering me,” Noah said. “My left knee. I’m not sure what it is, but I was able to play today. I think I was limited a little bit. But it’s no excuses. I’ll check it out, find out what’s wrong, take care of it. Now we got a lot of time to take care of it.”-Joakim Noah, ESPN Chicago
Noah would refrain from saying when the injury occurred but Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau admitted that the center has been playing with the injury for a while.
“His knee has bothered him for a while,” Thibodeau said. “Probably the whole second half of the year. We will have it checked out and see where he is.”-Tom Thibodeau, ESPN Chicago
Whether or not Noah re-aggravated the knee injury during the playoffs remains to be seen. Though, that may be the reason why Noah seemed to have taken a step back during the playoffs.