Bulls center Joakim Noah gave Bulls fans a bit of a scare when he was sent home by French basketball officials to rehabilitate his right ankle, an injury Noah suffered on March 28. However, the French Basketball Federation said Tuesday that Noah is expected to rejoin his French teammates later this week in preparation for the FIBA European Championships/2012 Olympic Qualifying tournament after he "responded well to treatment," on his right ankle in Los Angeles.
According to a statement made by the French Basketball Federation on its website: "After seeing the conclusions from the two specialists, the (Bulls) doctor should give his accord for Joakim Noah to return to the France team, without having to go to Chicago."
Added France team director Patrick Beesley: "There's been good progress, and Joakim seems to have recovered well from the little problem he had. I am optimistic that he will be in Pau (France) by the end of the week."
Although he'll end up missing over three weeks of France's training camp, it never seemed as if Noah's injury was serious enough to force him to miss tournament games. Give French officials credit for identifying his injury and for sending him to rehab rather than letting him grind through pain, something he would've gladly done, for right or wrong. Noah is a competitor, and though he declined France's invitation last summer, representing his country is something he truly wants to do.
Shortly after Noah was sent home, it was reported that his injury was "very minor" and that he would be ready to go in time for the French. On Tuesday, France's team director called Noah's injury a "little problem." Both assessments coincide, fortunately for the Bulls.
France opens up play August 31 against Latvia and will play Spain in a friendly match on Monday.
Fellow Bulls Luol Deng (Great Britain) and Nikola Mirotic (Spain) are expected to participate in the tournament, as well.