Sport Out of Knicks' rotation, healthy Joakim Noah admits past heights could be past

19:37  10 december  2017
19:37  10 december  2017 Source:   latimes.com

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Out of Knicks ' rotation , healthy Joakim Noah admits past heights could be past - Duration: 3 minutes, 39 seconds. White Sox assets Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia could be up for bid at winter meetings - Duration: 3 minutes, 31 seconds. No views.

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Joakim Noah looking at the camera: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, right, looks at treammate Taj Gibson during the first half against the Detroit Pistons at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, April 2, 2016.© Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, right, looks at treammate Taj Gibson during the first half against the Detroit Pistons at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, April 2, 2016.

CHICAGO - Joakim Noah sat shirtless Saturday morning inside the United Center, a scar on his surgically repaired left shoulder clearly visible.

Noah is carrying other wounds - some self-inflicted and some not, some visible and some not.

Just three-plus years removed from a dominant season with the Bulls in which he won Defensive Player of the Year and finished fourth in the MVP voting, Noah, in his second season of a four-year, $72 million deal with the Knicks, is out of the rotation - active some nights, inactive most.

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Joakim Noah is currently the odd man out in the New York Knicks . Despite returning from a 20-game suspension, the former Defensive Player of the Year sees limited playing time Aside from suffering multiple injuries in the past , there is no doubt that Noah is already on the downside of his career.

What contributions will Joakim Noah provide to the New York Knicks upon his return? The Knicks must figure that out sooner than later. He’s a shell of his old self, and the way the NBA has changed over the past few years doesn’t complement his traditional play style.

That included the humbling moment of sitting in street clothes Saturday night in the building that used to resonate with cheers of "MVP!" and "Noah!", inactive once again.

"Probably not," Noah said quickly and honestly when asked if he can reach his Bulls levels again. "But for me, it's not about that. I'm trying to get back on the court.

"I know what my situation is - I'm not playing. Why are we talking about something that happened like five years ago? But I definitely feel I can help."

This is what pains Noah the most. The ultimate team player, he is trying to balance being healthy and inactive, remaining competitive while in a cheering-from-the-sidelines role.

Like close friend Derrick Rose, Noah's fall from grace has included injuries. Noah, who had knee and left shoulder surgery while with the Bulls, spent all summer rehabbing his right shoulder after surgery repaired a torn rotator cuff. He also served a 20-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy, taking a banned over-the-counter supplement late last season.

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The Past Few Weeks. Hornacek banished Noah , telling him to not report back to the team, but Noah is technically still on the roster. Out of Playoff Rotation vs. Raptors. Daily Knicks 1 monthNew York Knicks : Tim Hardaway Jr.'s best games of 2017-18.

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Unlike Rose, who recently took a leave of absence from the Cavaliers to ponder his future in basketball, Noah sounds as committed as ever.

"It was hard, man," Noah said. "It was two years in a row, two different shoulder injuries. But I worked really hard this summer to be able to come back and be on the court after all the injuries that I had. By March, I had a knee and a shoulder (hurt). I wasn't feeling too good.

"Just to be back moving well is special. I was crippled. It was not a good feeling in March. I wasn't in a good place physically and mentally. To be here, feeling good and maybe getting a chance to get a couple minutes in the United Center, I'm happy about that.

"The suspension was a really tough situation for me. It was very embarrassing. It took me a while to get to grips with it. It was a mistake; I owned it. This is going to be part of my story. This is not a story of glory and, 'Oh, he won five championships.' No, I got suspended for drugs. It's part of who I am."

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Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks center Joakim Noah needs surgery for a torn left rotator cuff, league sources tell @The Vertical. Moving past human element, which is real, this also could affect Bulls as they approach trade deadline.

out of Chicago soon as well. Here’s what he had to say about free-agent-to- be Joakim Noah potentially signing on with the Knicks this summer But given the way injuries have hampered Noah ’s play the past two seasons, his long-term health is a legitimate concern.

Noah logged more minutes in one game with the Westchester Knicks of the Gatorade League than in his 11 with the NBA Knicks. Coach Jeff Hornacek and general manager Scott Perry said Noah has remained professional and worked hard on conditioning while accepting his demotion, brought on by his injuries, suspension and four centers on the roster.

"We got off to a good start, (so) it's tough to make any changes at that point," Hornacek said. "And we're still in that same boat.

"When you're used to playing a certain way, and you saw it a little bit with Derrick Rose, it's tough. But (Noah is) a professional. He has worked hard. Sure, everybody wants to play and compete, but I think he understands."

Perry said there are no current plans to buy out the 11-year veteran, citing how injuries can create opportunities.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan, who coached Noah to two NCAA Tournament titles at Florida, knows the proud player as well as anyone.

"He's a team guy, he's a winner and he struggles when he can't impact a group," Donovan said in an interview last month. "He also loves New York because he grew up there and has a sense of obligation that he doesn't want to let anybody down."

And so Noah pushes on, trying to stay positive while his competitive fire burns within.

"I feel great," Noah said. "I think that extra time (from the suspension) was a blessing. I could really focus on my body. The suspension also put things in perspective for me. I had to change some things in my life, get organized.

"I've always been a team guy. That's never going to change. That's who I am. I support all my teammates. It's not about my situation.

"I made my mistakes. (With) my injuries (and) everything, I'm coming from the bottom. I'm OK - I feel good, I feel healthy. And whenever my number is called, I'm ready.

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