TORONTO -- Even though he played his normal role in Wednesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors, Bulls center Joakim Noah soon could be shut down for a while because of a lingering problem with a ligament in his right thumb.
Noah was scheduled to be examined on Thursday after the Bulls return to the Chicago. According to a team source, if the doctors determine that surgery is necessary to correct the problem, Noah could be sidelined eight to 10 weeks. There are some in the organization, the source said, who believed surgery should be performed to ensure that he is ready for the stretch drive and the playoffs.
Noah, who entered the game averaging 14.2 points and 11.7 rebounds, played Wednesday because the Bulls determined he couldn't do any further damage.
"If that were the case, he wouldn't be playing," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It's something that we have to keep our eye on. If he's not doing any more damage, he'll keep playing."
But there is a concern that the injury could linger all season. Noah originally injured it Nov. 27 at Sacramento and aggravated it a couple of times since then.
Despite the problem, Noah has managed to play effectively.