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Noah (groin) to miss preseason opener

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- The Chicago Bulls will be without Joakim Noah for their preseason opener Saturday at Indiana, and could be without him until they head to Brazil next week.

Coach Tom Thibodeau finally revealed Friday that Noah has missed the last three practices with a groin issue, but characterized it as a minor injury. Thibodeau said that Noah would miss Saturday's game, but Noah revealed that his absence would be longer.

"We're just trying to be smart and I probably won't play for the first couple of preseason games," Noah said. "It's unfortunate. I want to be out there real bad but we're going to be smart and I will be ready when it counts."

Kirk Hinrich returned to practice Friday after missing the past two days with a sore back. He is expected to suit up and play Saturday at Indiana.

After facing the Pacers, the Bulls will then travel to St. Louis where they will face the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. After the Grizzlies game, the team will return to Chicago, but be home for less than 24 hours before boarding a flight to Brazil.

The Bulls and Washington Wizards will play a preseason game in Rio De Janeiro on Oct. 12 before returning for their first preseason game at the United Center on Oct. 16 against the Detroit Pistons.

Noah said that if it was the regular season, he would probably play through the injury.

"We know there is a long way to go," Noah said. "We know you work really hard in the offseason. The first game you want to be there. It's unfortunate, but I feel like we had a great camp overall as a team. Guys fought really hard and we just have to keep striving for improvement. It's a groin, I don't want it to keep lingering for a long time so I'm doing what I can and I'll be back in no time."