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Joakim Noah says he expects return after All-Star break

Feb 3, 2011, 1:47 AM EDT

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Joakim Noah said Wednesday night his hand is “coming along” and when asked for a timeline said he plans to return right after the All-Star break.

Noah is traveling with the Bulls on the annual “ice show trip” — and if you saw the weather in Chicago you have at least one idea why he wanted to go (it was 64 in Los Angeles Wednesday). But also he is working with the team hoping to get in shape and return from the thumb surgery that has had him out since mid-December. The Bulls have gone 18-6 in his absence, in large part due to the play of Derrick Rose.

Before the Bulls took on the Clippers without him to start the trip, Noah got in some cardio work with a soft cast still protecting his hand. Afterward in the locker room he said he was feeling good and optimistic about the return in a couple of weeks.

That post All-Star weekend timeline is what coach Tom Thibodeau has said he hoped to see previously.

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