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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah racked up his second triple-double in three games in Wednesday night's win over the Detroit Pistons, but he also injured his right thumb in the process and left the Palace of Auburn Hills wearing a protective brace.
The reason this injury has to be particularly concerning to the Bulls isn't just because Noah is the team's most valuable player, it's because he tore ligaments in the same thumb during the 2010-2011 season and had to miss two months after getting surgery to repair the injury.
The emotional center wasn't sure when the injury occurred and said he would have it re-evaluated on Thursday.
"Just a little boo-boo," Noah said. "A little boo boo. I'll be all right."
He didn't want to get into specifics regarding the thumb. It should be noted that when Noah hurt his thumb in the 2010-2011 season, the initial injury occurred during a Nov. 27 game against the Sacramento Kings. He wore a taped wrap around the thumb before finally getting surgery on it on Dec. 16.
"I'll see how it feels (Thursday) but I should be all right," Noah said. "I'll just check it out (Thursday), see how it feels, and hopefully I'll be all right."
As far as Noah's on the court play is concerned he continues to have his best run as a pro. He scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, while also chipping in with 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
"It feels good to play well, just trying to stay focused right now," he said. "Stay focused -- I think our team is playing some good basketball. We have a lot of big tests coming up against some very good teams so it's going to say a lot about our team and where we stand. I'm happy we won, I'm happy that I'm playing well, healthy, things like that."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Noah is important to the success of his team and is proud of the way his center continues to play.
"He's patient," Thibodeau said. "He sizes things up, keeps working, and all of a sudden you'll see him get four or five rebounds in a row. You'll see him run the floor. I think he's getting comfortable being the first big down now. We're getting good movement off of his post-up. And he's doing a lot of different things for us. It's huge. The rebounding, the defense, the passing, his points, we need his points. If people are going to sit on his pass he's got to score. And I think he's showing that."
For his part, Noah is just trying to take this stretch in stride. He now has three triple-doubles this season and six for his career.
"It feels good," he said. "It feels good, but ... just as much as people can put you on a pedestal and say, 'Oh man, you're doing great.' In a week, just like that, it can go away. So I don't take that for granted and I just try to focus on what's important. Because if you focus on that, on the praise, I think it just makes things harder."