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Joakim Noah: 'A little more cautious'

CHICAGO -- Joakim Noah is hopeful that his body is ready to withstand the grind of an 82 game season, but as he continues rehabbing from arthroscopic left knee surgery from early May, the All-Star isn't sure exactly how that knee will respond heading into the Chicago Bulls' first practice of the 2014-15 season on Tuesday.

"Obviously this is the first time I've ever had surgery on my knee so I'm hoping there's no limitations," Noah said during Monday's media day at the Advocate Center. "But I just have to be a little bit more cautious. But it's exciting, it's really exciting. I know that this is a long journey we're about to embark (on) and I just want to be as ready as possible."

Noah put together the best season of his professional career last year earning first the Defensive Player of the Year award along with first-team All-NBA honors. But Noah limped badly at the end of the year during the Bulls' first round loss to the Washington Wizards -- admitting Monday that his knee was hurting more than he led on during the playoffs.

"I felt terrible at the end of the year," he said. "And I feel better now."

The Bulls are hoping that Noah can hit the ground running, but there is at least some doubt as to just how heavy his workload will be when camp begins.

"His rehab's gone great from the very beginning," Bulls GM Gar Forman said. "He spent a lot of time in Chicago with his rehab and working with our athletic performance team, working with (Director of Sports Performance) Jen (Swanson) and our training staff and weight and conditioning staff. Everything's been positive. With that said, he hasn't played basketball since the injury so it's something we'll have to watch now going into camp. But physically, I think he's strong and the rehab has been a positive."

Noah acknowledged that the rehab schedule altered some of his summer plans.

"A lot more rehab, a lot more boring stuff," he said. "A lot more boring stuff. But you know, the boring stuff is important. Having knee surgery is very real, especially when you're jumping and playing basketball every day. It's a grueling sport; I had knee surgery, now it's part of my life. I have to do a lot of strengthening and a lot of activation and a lot of flexibility. Not that I wasn't doing that before. It's just being a little bit more conscious of your body. It's just new and I just got to deal with it and I'll be ready."