The Knicks announced Joakim Noah has a right shoulder injury and that team doctors are recommending surgery, but no decision has been made.
The team said in a release that Noah hurt his shoulder in January but he continued to play through it. An MRI confirmed a rotator cuff issue, and a follow-up MRI in April showed no improvement, the Knicks said.
If Noah has the surgery, he likely would be sidelined for several months, although his return hasn’t been determined. Yahoo! Sports “The Vertical” reported Tuesday night that the rehab would be four-to-six months. Noah had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder last January when he was with the Bulls.
Noah’s signing keeps looking worse for Phil Jackson and the Knicks. Nothing has gone right for Noah or the Knicks since Jackson gave the veteran center a four-year, $72 million free-agent contract last summer to be a defensive anchor and leader.
This would be the second surgery Noah will undergo since the end of February when he had his left knee scoped. He also is serving a 20-game suspension for violating the terms of the NBA’s anti-drug policy which will carry into next season.
Noah, 32, tested positive for a banned over-the-counter supplement that he said he had been taking for a while to help him overcome and recovery from injuries.
He has been injury-plagued over the last few seasons. Noah played just 29 games last season with the Bulls when he needed surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder. He appeared in 46 this season for the Knicks and averaged 5.0 points and 8.7 rebounds. He hasn’t played since Feb. 4.
Noah still has three years, and $55 million remaining on his deal.
He was cleared to play two weeks ago from his knee surgery, and will serve the eighth game of his suspension Wednesday night when the Knicks close out their season against the Sixers. He will be suspended the first 12 games of next season.
Without Noah, the Knicks have come to rely on rookie center Willy Hernangomez, who has impressed with his offensive skills. The Knicks are expected to build around Kristaps Porzingis and Hernagomez.