Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah returned to practice with the Bulls on Tuesday morning and will start in their preseason opener against the Memphis Grizzlies. Noah's status was uncertain after missing three straight practices for personal reasons, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that Noah will start on Tuesday.
The Bulls did not give specifics on why Noah missed three consecutive practices, but the center announced on Twitter that his grandmother passed away on Oct. 1, causing the absences. If Noah was unable to go the Bulls would have started Nazr Mohammed at center in his place. As is, their starting lineup will be Kirk Hinrich at point guard, Richard Hamilton at shooting guard, Luol Deng at small forward, Carlos Boozer at power forward, and Noah at center.
Chicago finished last season tied for the best record in basketball at 50-16 but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs and lost star PG Derrick Rose to a torn ACL in that series.