Less than two months after the Chicago Bulls’ season ended, the team is still dealing with the after-effects of a grueling, disappointing campaign that was mired by injuries and bad luck.
Bulls center Joakim Noah announced on Wednesday that he will not play for the French national team in this summer’s Olympics because of the gruesome left ankle sprain he suffered on May 4 during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Over the past year, Noah has been adamant about representing France in London – due, in part, to his experience in EuroBasket 2011 – but his ankle was clearly “not fit enough to play in the Olympic Games.”
“I am absolutely not ready,” Noah told L’Equipe. “Not ready to run, not ready to jump.”
With Derrick Rose already out of the Olympics due to a torn ACL and Noah’s condition, Luol Deng becomes the lone Bull to represent the organization, and he will do so in his home nation while nursing a torn ligament in his left wrist.
A week after the Bulls’ season finished, Noah visited a Chicago north suburban high school, and those who got an extended look at the 6-foot-11 center believed his ankle was severely swollen. During the appearance, Noah also emphasized the importance of regaining full health after an injury like his.
Noah will now focus on rehabilitating his left ankle and improving his repertoire, although he knew that participating in the Olympics would have been a learning experience, a challenging competition against the world’s best.
In a recent interview on “Late Show with David Letterman,” LeBron James acknowledged France was a “really good team competing in the tournament” and that it could provide a problem to Team USA. With Noah pulling out and Tony Parker’s status uncertain due to an eye injury, France has taken a major hit.