Joakim Noah’s tenure on the Knicks has resembled an expensive rehabilitation project for a large, ungainly, nearly extinct bird. (Except the bird also does drugs he’s not supposed to, and is somewhat refreshing in his openness about the whole thing.)
Today that saga got only bleaker, courtesy of a Yahoo report that Noah will need right rotator cuff surgery and several months of recovery. The current question is whether he is too hurt to suit up and serve out another game of the suspension he got for doing banned substances while employed by a team he hasn’t played for since the beginning of February.
Each sentence of this ESPN story just makes me feel like I’m sinking deeper and deeper into a swamp:
The 32-year-old had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Feb. 27 to remove loose fragments of cartilage or bone. He played in just 46 games, missing time due to various ailments and playing through soreness in his right shoulder over a two-week stretch in early January.
He has not played since Feb. 4 though he was cleared by the NBA’s independent medical expert late last month, which allowed Noah to begin his suspension.
Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement — selective androgen receptor modulator LGD-4033 — that is banned under the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement. He said that he’d taken the supplement while rehabbing from an injury.
It is unclear if this latest injury will prohibit Noah from serving another game of his suspension in the Knicks’ season finale against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, though the injury is believed to be more of a general wear and tear ailment and not the result of a recent incident.
In his 46 games with the Knicks, Noah averaged 5.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 49.5 percent from the floor and 43.6 percent from the free throw line (much to Boogie’s delight). For these services—which are sure to decline with further injury and age—Noah, 32, will be paid $72,590,000 over four seasons.
Earning only $4,307,250 in that same span is rookie Willy Hernangomez, who averaged 8.2 points and 6.9 rebounds as the brightest spot of an otherwise catastrophic season, and who will do just fine at center alongside his friend Kristaps Porzingis.