NBA center Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls won’t play for France in the 2012 London Olympics after ruling himself out of consideration for the final roster of the French Men’s basketball squad.
Noah, who was expected to be one of the key players of France, announced on Wednesday that he will not be donning the national team colors due to a slow recovery from his ankle injury.
“I am absolutely not ready,” Noah said in an interview with French sports daily newspaper L’Equipe. “Not ready to run, not ready to jump. I’m not fit enough to play in the Olympic Games.”
Noah, who averaged 10.2 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Bulls last season, sustained an ankle injury during their first-round playoff campaign against the Philadelphia 76ers, an injury that has yet to heal that would be a huge blow to France.
The French squad is expected to contend for a medal in the 2012 London Olympics, but the sudden twist of fate could change their fortunes especially with superstar point guard Tony Parker also doubtful for the Olympics.
Parker also remains doubtful for the London Games after sustaining a nasty eye-injury after getting hit during a bar-fight incident in New York that almost caused him his vision.
With Noah out and Parker still uncertain, more responsibilities will rest on the shoulders of the other NBA-based players like Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trailblazers, Boris Diaw of the San Antonio Spurs, Kevin Seraphin of the Washington Wizards, and Ronny Turiaf of the recently-crowned champions, Miami Heat.
France was drawn in Group A and will be going up against USA, Argentina, Tunisia, and two more qualifiers that will be determined from the ongoing 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men.