After the Bulls off day on Tuesday, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich both missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. So to sum things up, they practiced a total of three sessions and then spent three days off.
Tom Thibodeau was reportedly unconcerned about the health of either player and said the Bulls were just being cautious, but is the fact that the Bulls need to be cautious after just three practices a concern in and of itself?
Thibodeau claimed the players were feeling much better Thursday, but he held them out because the floor was real slippery. Practice was shut down a half hour early due to the slippery floor so it wasn't just empty talk.
He also wouldn't commit to either player playing in the first preseason game this Saturday, but given that it's only the first preseason game, it doesn't really matter much one way or the other.
The thing that's a little concerning is that with another team or set of players, it's easy to think they're just taking preseason off. A lot of star players are famous for it. One bright spot is the early off day now doesn't seem likely about Derrick Rose and looks more likely to be about the whole team.
However, there's an even bigger silver lining in this situation.
This might just represent a shift in the organizational thinking surrounding player health. In an effort to keep everyone healthier for the regular season, maybe the Bulls are simply going to coast in preseason and use it as a time to slowly bring up their conditioning.
Already gone were grueling two-a-day practices, replaced by a workout and a video session. There was an early rest day, and a couple guys took an extra two days as a precaution.
A huge factor in how far any team will go in the post-season is based on how healthy they are when they get there. The Bulls may simply be allowing the team to get their conditioning back slowly and ease into the season. That decision may keep them fresher for the year even if it costs them a game early on.
Maybe Noah and Hinrich are already showing signs of being simply too brittle, or maybe the Bulls are showing signs of putting health first for a team that desperately needs to do so.
Only time will tell.
Filed under: Players