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Professional

Noah might not play against Nets

Bulls center Joakim Noah (right) might not play against the Nets during the first round of the playoffs as struggles with plantar fasciitis.
Bulls center Joakim Noah (right) might not play against the Nets during the first round of the playoffs as struggles with plantar fasciitis.

An extremely downcast Joakim Noah wouldn't rule himself out for Saturday's playoff opener in Brooklyn against the Nets.

But if the Chicago Bulls' center can play at all, he will be extremely limited from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

"It’s really disappointing for me," Noah said following practice at the Berto Center. "You work really hard in the summer and the season to be ready for situations like this, and just to be hurt is really disappointing. It is what it is. We fought hard to get here, and we’re a very capable team. It’s going to be an exciting series against Brooklyn."

Noah didn't practice and said he is taking anti-inflammatory pills to try to compete. He had a cortisone shot recently and also has undergone platelet-rich plasma therapy on the condition, which sidelined him for 15 games during the season.

"I’m just taking it game-by-game," Noah said. "It’s hard, but it’s not about me. I’m just going to do everything I can to get back there, help the team as soon as I can. But I’m in a lot of pain right now.’’

Nazr Mohammed is almost certain to start against All-Star center Brook Lopez. Coach Tom Thibodeau did say he's hopeful that the minutes limit on Taj Gibson, who has been recovering from a sprained MCL in his left knee, would be lifted.

Noah played just over 28 minutes in the Bulls' final two regular-season games.

"It just flares up on me," Noah said. "Even in the limited time I had in the last two games, it wasn’t pretty. It’s painful and I’m just trying to find solutions. It’s tough, but at the end of the day it’s not about one player. I’m really proud of this team. I think we put ourselves in a pretty good situation right now, and I think we’re a very capable group regardless. But I definitely want to be there and help as much as I can."

Noah's postseason following last season got cut short by a gruesome ankle sprain. The top-seeded Bulls lost in the first round to the 76ers after Derrick Rose tore his left ACL and Noah went down.

"It’s really hard, it’s really hard," Noah said. "All the work you put in is to play in this situation. This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my career right now. Going back home and playing in these playoff games means the world to me. Not being able to be ready for that is hard. I’m going to try and do everything I can to help the team."

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