Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was not able to play on Monday's night even though he was initially listed in the starting lineup. His team won over the Philadelphia 76ers though, 111-88.
Noah's sore knee cost him a big night. Monday night's game against Philadelphia 76ers would have been his first start of the season, but minutes before the tipoff, the player begged off because of his knee. According to the player, it was such a waste, considering how much he wanted to play, ESPN reports.
You don't plan on these things," Noah said. "I wasn't expecting it. I've been feeling great up to this point, and it just happened. I don't think it's [anything] too serious, but it was definitely a situation where I had to be smart. I wanted to play tonight really bad."
It was not an easy decision to make for him. Had this taken place a few years ago, before an offseason left knee surgery a year and a half ago, Noah would have pushed through regardless of the pain. However, with the surgery, the player is now more keen to prioritize his health first over a game. He now said he believed that he made the right decision to sit this one out.
"I was thinking about [playing]," he said. "It's been bothering me since this morning, but I don't think it's [anything] too serious. I think I made the right decision." Noah also shared that he need not undergo an MRI on the surgically repaired knee.
Noah being given the starting position also came as a surprise to fans. Many were surprised with head coach Fred Hoiberg's decision to bench Nikola Mirotic and to allow Noah to start. The coach had to explain that this decision does not necessarily has anything to do with how Niko played, but because he wanted to "change the rotation a little bit," since the defense in their first quarter was not that effective as expected.