Joakim Noah went to get a bone scan while the Bulls held a long, but casual, practice at the Berto Center on Thursday.
Maybe it sounds alarming and it might have looked like trouble when Noah returned to the Berto Center wearing a walking boot on his left foot. But not long after, he was out on the court and spent about a half hour shooting jumpers and working on post moves with player development coach Dave Severns.
Noah’s foot is still hurting and he played just seven minutes in Wednesday’s win over Indiana. But if he received bad news at the doctor, it’s probably safe to say he would not have headed right onto the practice court as soon as he returned. So his status appears to be unchanged and he’ll continue playing low minutes.
I guess it's better than the worse news, but this current status is alarming as well. When will it be the time to get Noah's minutes back up? and if not then why not try another period of rest before the playoffs? I suppose the time to try and sneak a few wins in without him has passed, as their post-ASG schedule was one of the more favorable stretches of the season.
While it certainly didn't affect them last night against the Pacers, the Bulls could use another backup big man for when Noah is limited or completely sidelined. Warrick is a 4 but should be paired with a rebounder/defender at Center to try and mask his deficiencies in that area, and Warrick/Taj and Deng/Taj frontcourt make me nervous when Miller is out of the game. Nobody's likely to help a lot, but at the very least it can give the team some Noah insurance. I understand 'being cheap' isn't exactly accurate when just staying under the tax for a non-contender, but the trades at the deadline got the Bulls additional room under the luxury tax, approximately a little over $2m.
Perhaps signing the recently waived Zydrunas Ilgauskas isn't likely, there should be more veteran buyouts in the near future, as the deadline to be waived and still eligible to participate in the playoffs is March 1st. They can also sign someone who wasn't on an NBA roster after that date.
It might be preferable to go to the DLeague, names like Dwayne Jones, Alexander Johnson, or bringing back the Bulls most recent roster cut Chris Richard. I'm not sure Vinny would give minutes to a call-up but he did give Richard some time in the last couple weeks.
There's also the question of who to waive, and while the most useless members of the bench are Lindsey Hunter and Jerome James, those two have salaries paid for by the league and insurance*, respectively. I'd have to guess that while it's nice he's humble and calls Sam Smith 'sir', the most likely candidate would be Joe Alexander.
*Actually that's unconfirmed on James, but you'd have to think they would've waived him instead of Richard if it wasn't true. Or maybe they're waiting for that veteran comeback?