DENVER — Joakim Noah was not with the Knicks when they played the Nuggets on Thursday night because of what the team called “personal reasons.” The veteran center will not be with the team on Friday night, either, when the Knicks finish their seven-game road trip in Phoenix.
The Knicks were tight-lipped about the reason for Noah’s absence. He appeared in his seventh game of the season on Tuesday at Golden State and practiced with the team on Wednesday in Denver, but he was gone when the Knicks showed up at the Pepsi Center for their morning shootaround on Thursday.
When asked if Noah was OK, coach Jeff Hornacek said: “We’re not going to comment on that stuff. Personal reasons. He won’t be with us the next couple of games.”
Noah played for 4:31 in the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ 123-112 loss to the Warriors on Tuesday. It was his first appearance since a stint that lasted 2:11 on Jan. 2.
The Daily News reported on Thursday that Noah shouted at Hornacek after being removed from Tuesday’s game. Hornacek declined to comment, and Noah’s agent did not respond to a request for comment.
Noah, 32, has had a difficult time in New York since then-team president Phil Jackson signed him to a four-year, $72-million contract before last season. Noah has been injured and ineffective. He ended last season and began this one on a 20-game suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy.
Since his return, Noah has been the Knicks’ fourth center. He has said all the right things about waiting for his chance to play.
“He works hard,” Hornacek said. “Works hard to keep himself in shape. He’s been professional that way. It’s always tough when you want to play, but we’re worried about Denver right now.”
With Al Iannazzone