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Bulls vs. Nets playoffs: Joakim Noah expected to play in game 2


Perhaps the most depressing thing of all in the Bulls sound defeat on Saturday night was having to see Joakim Noah drag his legs through the 13 minutes he managed to get out of his broken-down body.

Post-game, Noah was still bravely declaring he'd make it to Monday's contest, but as we know the tale of plantar fasciitis is usually told the next day.

So this is technically encouraging, unless you want to think about the likely lies being told all-around:

Tom Thibodeau expects Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) and Kirk Hinrich (thigh bruise) to play in Game 2 Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

"(They're feeling) actually pretty good," Thibodeau said after the Bulls' film session Sunday. "So the one plus is Jo felt pretty good today."

Thibodeau later clarified his comment regarding Noah's status.

"(He's) relatively good for where he is," Thibodeau said. "Not quite the same soreness that he had previously. So he feels like he can do something today which is a good sign. We'll see where he is (Monday)."

Thibodeau said that if Noah was healthy enough to play, he would start.

It's tough to process this. The mistakes with this were made months ago. Unless there was a setback, I'm not sure what else there is to do but try and make these valiant (and likely failing) attempts. If Noah sat out, he's likely not going to get enough rest to make an actual difference in his condition (though game 3 isn't until Thursday). And he wants to play, and players play (with some exceptions), and the season will be over soon whether he is out or merely limited.

The only adjustment that I'd look to in terms of helping the team win some games is not having Noah start against Lopez. Nazr Mohammed isn't good but can at least be big and get in the way, and then Noah can get his time in against the less physical Andray Blatche. But maybe if Noah's warmed up pre-game it's better to just get him out there than sitting...

Kelly Dwyer really took it to Bulls management today after seeing what the rest of us did in game one:

Prior to the game Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau gave lip service to the idea that he wouldn't want Bulls center Joakim Noah "out there if he's injured," but this was a typically misleading statement from the Bulls boss. An obviously injured Noah was allowed to start both the first and second halves of the game despite clearly suffering from a plantar fasciitis injury that he shouldn't have been playing through. Noah "only" played 13 minutes in the loss, but he could barely get up and down the court, and the Bulls organization should be embarrassed for not acting as the bigger, smarter voice in situations like these, once again clearing injured players for action merely because the players want to give it a go. All players want to give it a go. It's up to the professionals in an organization to say "no."

Indeed, the Bulls will be continuing a disservice to their talent if today's instance of Noah 'feeling good' is a transparent lie that they're choosing to ignore.

Meanwhile, it's nice news Hinrich isn't out. Though this stat tickled me: Hinrich's 4 combined points + assists are the fewest by any Bulls starting point guard that played at least 25 minutes in an NBA playoff game in the last 15 seasons. Coincidentally, the next 2 players on this list are Kirk Hinrich as well.