There are certainly times when it feels like soul-crushing sports injuries are entirely unique to Chicago. Even beyond the D. Rose apocalypse, there was the Jay Cutler thumb injury that ended a promising 7-3 Bears season a couple years back, Marian Hossa getting murdered by Raffi Torres at the beginning of last season's NHL playoffs, and, of course, the foot and ankle problems that have plagued Joakim Noah in the postseason this year and last.
But hey! Other teams from other cities can get hurt too, and the Brooklyn Nets are one of those teams. While much of the attention in this first round series between the Bulls and the Nets has focused on Chicago's rash of injuries, the Nets are dealing with some stuff, too.
The biggest injury among them belongs to Joe Johnson, who, like Noah, has been battling the dreaded plantar fasciitis for much of this season. Johnson supposedly suffered a 'minor setback' in Game 2 and remains a game-time decision tonight for Game 3 at the United Center. Tom Thibodeau seems convinced Johnson will give it go, but it's important to remember Fred can't clear members of the opposing team. I'd wager that Johnson will be in tonight, but his minutes certainly could be limited.
Said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo: "We'll see if he can play. If he can play he's going to play."
Said Johnson: "I'll do the necessary things I need to do to get back out on the court."
Johnson is mocked incessantly for his comically large contract, but I don't need to tell you he's very important for Brooklyn. Seeing as the Bulls were already essentially ignoring two-fifths of the Nets' starters when Brooklyn had the ball, the abscense of Johnson would only mean a great concentration on keeping Deron Williams and Brook Lopez from getting good looks. If Johnson can't go or is limited, expect to see a lot of MarShon Brooks, C.J. Watson and Jerry Stackhouse. That should mean good things for the Bulls.
As for Noah, the plan remains the same as it was for Game 2: he'll play 20-25 minutes. Thibodeau did a good job of keeping him exactly at 25 minutes in Game 2, so hopefully the big man rotation remains mostly the same. If Nazr wants to another big game too, that would be great.
As for the faction of comic book fans who thought D. Rose would ride into the United Center on a white horse and rescue the Bulls in their first home playoff game: he's out. Nothing to see here.