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Joakim Noah prepares for return to Knicks after serving 20-game suspension

The New York Knicks will get back their $72 million man next week, as Joakim Noah has now served 11 of his remaining 12 games under suspension, after serving eight last season of a total 20 games of punishment handed down by the league after his use of banned substances.

Noah was recovering from an injury and was found using an unauthorized supplement, forcing him to start serving the suspension as soon as he was deemed physically cleared for activity.

“I’m not gonna lie, it was very humbling, very tough, to not be able to be with the guys, to have to stay back and watch the games alone, even on the bus,” said Noah, according to Steve Popper of North Jersey.com. “That’s been tough.”

The 6-foot-11 center was signed on the offseason of 2016 after phasing out his welcome with coach Fred Hoiberg with the Chicago Bulls, though his stint with his hometown Knicks has left the Hell’s Kitchen native aching for his impending return.

“It’s definitely been different, just not being there when it counts and not being there, even if it’s on the bench,” Noah said. “I’ve never been in that situation of watching games on TV. So it’s definitely been tough, but overall, I just come in here and try to bring a positive attitude every day and be here with the guys and compete every day in practice.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek now looms on a difficult decision with four centers in the roster, one which he’ll be forced to make this weekend after the big man serves his last game of the ban.