CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls tried to pick up the pieces of their season on Sunday afternoon after learning on Saturday that Joakim Noah likely would be out for the rest of the season after an MRI revealed he needed surgery to fix a left shoulder dislocation suffered during Friday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
"It's tough," Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Jo, he's such a passionate kid. A big-time leader of this team. He has so much energy -- even when he wasn't playing, he was always keeping guys' spirits up being around here, and I know he'll continue to do that. But I really feel bad the fact that he's going to have to have a surgical procedure to fix this. But at the end of the day, I know Jo's going to be fine."
Hoiberg and veteran Pau Gasol, like many within the Bulls organization, said they have been texting with Noah since the injury occurred.
"I'm sure he's still probably in a little bit of shock with everything that happened," Hoiberg said. "I know the guys really tried to lift his spirits just seeing him go in at halftime [after the injury Friday], but it's tough on everybody right now."
With Noah out, the onus will be on Gasol and fellow veteran Taj Gibson to pick up the slack in his absence, along with rookie Bobby Portis. Hoiberg also noted that second-year big man Cameron Bairstow and rookie Cristiano Felicio will get an opportunity to see what they can do. Still, Gasol spoke for many in the Advocate Center while discussing his feelings on Noah's injury.
"It's a tough one to swallow," Gasol said. "Jo brings a lot to our team, a lot of energy, great spirit, great competitiveness, intensity. It's hard to accept the news. But in sports, these things happen. It's unfortunate. It can happen to anyone. I'm sorry it happened to him."
Hoiberg said Noah is "still seeking a couple opinions," so the time frame on exactly when the procedure will take place and which doctor will perform the surgery remains unclear. In the meantime, Hoiberg was asked about any potential deals in the wake of the Noah news and acknowledged that he didn't think much would happen.
"I don't think there's anything serious out there," he said.
The good news for the Bulls on Sunday was that veteran Mike Dunleavy was doing a little more work at practice as he tries to make his way back from offseason back surgery. Dunleavy has not appeared in a game yet this season.
"Mike did some non-contact stuff today," Hoiberg said. "He was out there he did some of our 5-on-0 stuff, some of the defensive shell work that we did he was out there participating in that. Still no contact for Mike, hope to get him back on the floor doing some contact stuff in the next couple weeks."