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Chicago Bulls injuries: Bulls employing strategic rest with Noah, Deng

All that matters, yo

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Bulls no longer own a fairly-impressive team-dominating streak as of Sunday night, and officially won't win the Central Division this year. But there was some good news on the injury front. Or at least 'mixed' news? It's better than the news we've seen for weeks on end, anyway.

Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli returned from 2+ week absences in that Pistons loss. Noah spoke about his feet issues as if they'll plague him the entire season. But at least there's a plan:

"The more I play, the more I'll get into a rhythm and the better I'll feel out there," Noah said. "(The foot) felt OK. It's something that's going to linger on, so I've got to keep getting all the treatments and fight through.

"I'm doing everything. Massage, sleep in a splint, ice. If you've got any remedies you want to give me I'll probably do it.''

Noah admitted he underwent another treatment of platelet-rich plasma therapy recently and could have another one performed before the season ends.

Noah was limited to only 22 minutes on Sunday, which is (all things considered) a welcome sign from this coaching and training staff.

[UPDATE by your friendly BullsBlogger, 3:06 PM CDT: and welp: Noah had a setback on Monday and is back out. Dastardly plantar fasciitis! ]

A similarly cautious approach has been taken with Luol Deng, who suffered a thigh bruise early last week and missed Sunday's game entirely, and may miss another. Deng claims the injury is not severe: that if it was the playoffs, he would play. Wait, are the Bulls realizing that regular season games aren't as important as playoff ones? Deng had some interesting thoughts on fatigue and injuries:

I really wasn't sure I was going to play in Brooklyn, but we had so many people hurt so I just played through it. I spoke to Coach and the way the schedule is, instead of people resting at the end, we're trying to rest now that we have some guys back. Try to get the hip right....I feel like I need it, especially because I think we learned a lot from last year. Fatigue toward the end of the year makes it easy to pick up injuries. We don't want that with everyone coming back. We just want to be as healthy as we can.

Emphasis mine, because this is a fairly different bent from what we've heard from the Bulls when it came to Derrick Rose's ACL tear as well as any questions Thibodeau received about heavy minutes earlier in the season. No, we can't prove that Thibs overworked his two main horses, but they're both hurting right now as the playoffs arrive. But the good news is that the team seems to be changing how they approach their health management in this circumstance.

In related news (as there's a chance he plays some given all the injuries and VladRad being what he is), Malcolm Thomas was signed for the rest of the season. He probably stinks, but he'll be useful if only to get other more important players rest.