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Sunday, June 16

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Bulls Wed Jan 26 2011

Noah's Recovery Stays Ahead of Schedule

Thumbnail image for chicagobulls.pngJoakim Noah had surgery yesterday to remove the pin that had been holding together his right hand for the past month, allowing his thumb mobility for the first time in the healing process. Next up for the 6-foot-11 center is regaining the dexterity and movement in that hand, though in the meantime he's been staying in shape and no doubt improving his handling with the left hand.

But despite the fact that the Bulls' soft schedule is about to come to a close, Noah isn't going to rush his return. While his recovery pace is ahead of schedule now, he won't let expectations trump his desire to be completely healed. "It's about getting better," Noah told the Sun-Times. "It's not about a target date. It's just about getting my hand 100 percent and making sure I don't re-injure it, just coming back and being healthy."

The Bulls avenged the Bears' NFC Championship Game loss with a 92-83 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night, with Carlos Boozer rounding back into shape and veteran Kurt Thomas, the league's second-oldest player, leading the team with an unexpected 20 points. For the first time in a while, the team has a few days off in town this week, and coach Tom Thibodeau is no doubt preparing them for Friday's game against Orlando, one of two home games this weekend before a string of five straight games out West at the Clippers, Warriors, Blazers, Jazz and Hornets.

Noah's original recovery timetable would have him back near the end of that road trip. Sitting only 3.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls are ready to get their starting lineup back in place and make a run at the league's best teams.

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