There were rumors before the Nets game that Joakim Noah was dealing with plantar fasciitis. Now it appears that those have unfortunately been confirmed by the man himself:
Noah said after game he's dealing with plantar fasciitis and will be cautious. Sounds like Noah, Hinrich and Boozer still all out Saturday— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) February 2, 2013
Noah has dealt with plantar fasciitis before, sitting out awhile in 2010 with the issue in his left foot. What's interesting, and perhaps even more concerning, is the fact that this bout is in his right foot:
Noah said it’s his right foot, not related to previous left foot issues. #Bulls— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) February 2, 2013
This really stinks, not only because Noah has been having such a great year, but because the Bulls really can't afford to lose him for a long period of time (and because plantar fasciitis just sucks). We saw tonight that Thibs has absolutely zero confidence in Nazr Mohammed, and there's no way the other frontcourt members can hold up with such huge minutes if Nazr never plays. The fact that Carlos Boozer is currently battling an injury himself certainly doesn't help matters.
Questions will certainly arise about Noah's crazy minutes load this season, as he's just under 39 minutes per game. That's nearly 6 minutes higher than any other season in his career and very rare for a big like Jo. Who knows whether the minutes directly contributed to this, but it does seem like we've been waiting for something like this to happen because of those big minutes.
The Bulls can currently sign a big to a 10-day contract (I think, correct me if I'm wrong), so perhaps they go that route for the short term. Long term, perhaps this makes them aggressively shop Richard Hamilton, who is still on a strange minutes limit despite supposedly being healthy. But no matter what, losing Noah for any type of significant time would be a real tough pill to swallow.