Noah’s status uncertain as Bulls prepare for Game 1


Apr 20

As shootaround got underway at John Jay College in Manhattan on Saturday morning, Bulls center Joakim Noah took to the floor to test the plantar fasciitis in his right foot that plagued him as the regular season came to an end.

How it responds could very well determine if he plays in Saturday’s Game 1 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Though Noah didn’t sound particularly optimistic about his chances on Friday, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t rule it out, calling him day-to-day but acknowledging Noah’s frustration.

Taj Gibson

“Any time we can give Jo to heal up and rest is great,” said Gibson of Noah. “We just have to go out there and play hard. It’s a frustrating injury.”

“He’s disappointed,” said Thibodeau of Noah. “He’s put a lot of work in and it’s understandable. He just has to continue on with the rehab and hopefully he can improve.”

When asked if there might be a benefit to sitting Noah for a couple games to allow him additional time to heal, Thibodeau stated it’s a decision for Noah, the team’s trainers and doctors to make.

“We’ll see,” said Thibodeau. “He’s going to stretch and see what he can do, but I don’t want him out there if he’s injured. If he’s feeling good enough, any minutes that he could give us would be a huge plus for the team. But I don’t want him out there injured.”

The outlook for Taj Gibson, who has been recovering from a sprained left knee, on the other hand, is much better.

Gibson said he’s back to wearing a smaller, lighter brace and experienced no ill effects following Friday’s practice.

“It’s feeling good, moving back to the way I used to move a little bit and getting stronger,” Gibson said.

As for whether or not there will be a limitation on his minutes, Gibson said that remains be seen.

“It’s going to be up in the air,” said Gibson. “I’ll have to see how my body reacts. But it’s the playoffs, it’s all out.”

If Noah is unable to go, Nazr Mohammed would likely get the start at center to match up against Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez, a first-time All-Star this season. Gibson’s presence would certainly help counter the size of the Nets’ front line.

“They’re a big team,” acknowledged Gibson. “You look at their front line and their real physical, especially with rebounding. From top to bottom, they’ve got a lot of players. They’re a playoff made team and it’s going to be a dogfight.”

The Bulls proved time and time again during the regular season they were capable of winning short-handed. But the playoffs present a different challenge, given it’s a best of seven series in which adjustments will be made as the games are played.

“You’ve got to be at your best,” said Thibodeau. “(The games) are going to be hard fought. The thing that makes the playoffs different, you’re playing the same team over and over again. You got to have a lot of toughness. When you face adversity, you got to be able to get through things. You have to play for 48 minutes, you got to play tough.”

Audio—Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau meets the media prior to shootaround (04.20.2013):

Audio—Bulls forward Taj Gibson meets the media before shootaround (04.20.2013):

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