Running with the Bulls: More Injury Problems

Running with the Bulls: More Injury Problems
March 28, 2010, 12:30 am
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Saturday, Mar. 27, 2010
7:21 P.M.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

When people think of something contagious, its usually the flu. For the Chicago Bulls, however, an epidemic of plantar fasciitis has infected the team this season.

With the flu, you kind of know when youre going to get over it, said Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro. Our situation is very difficult.

Rookie James Johnson is the latest victimjoining Joakim Noah and fellow first-year forward Taj Gibsonand will miss tonights game against New Jersey with a tear in his right foot. Johnson incurred the injury early in Thursdays loss to Miami, but returned to action later in the contest, although he missed Fridays practice.

I just went out there and tried to warm up on his right foot. It wasnt doing so well, said Johnson, who attributed adrenaline to being able to continue to play Thursday night. It was hurt on Thursday, but I love my teammates and Im going to ride with them, no matter what. Im not going to let a little pain stop me. No doctor told me what happened to it so as far as I know, I was good to go and Im going to keep fighting with my dudes as long as I can.

Thats just part of the game. Youre into the game, youre not really worried about pain, youre just worried about winning, Johnson added, before detailing the injury. Ive felt it earlier in the season, but it didnt really faze me. I knew I could play through it. It wasnt anything that was going to keep me out or get massive treatment, noted Johnson.

I want to go out there and give 100 percent while Im out there and I know I cant do that tonight.

Reserve guard Jannero Pargo will start in Johnsons placeJohnson was already starting as a replacement for injured small forward Luol Dengas Del Negro continues to opt for a three-guard look with limited bodies in the frontcourt on the roster. Moving forward, the unpredictability of Johnsons injury, as well as Joakim Noahs return from his own plantar fasciitis issues, inhibits his ability to plan for upcoming matchups.

No one has any idea right now how his foot is going to react. He tried to loosen up prior to tonights game and was in too much pain, said Del Negro. Its partially torn so even if hes able to go, its going to be on a limited minutes basis

Theres a possibility thats hes going be out for a little bit just because he partially tore it, he continued. He came back and played a little bit, which is encouraging, but maybe it swelled up after the game.

For him to even try and go through exercises, I was surprised. Its a very painful injury.

our situation is very difficult

As for Noah, Johnsons comrade-in-feet, is expected to see 20 minutes of action this evening, as he continues to recover from his own bout with the foot ailment, with increasing playing time each period. However, Del Negro was unsure whether that pattern would hold for tomorrows game at Detroit.

I dont know if hes medically cleared. Really what we do is see how he feels after each game, explained Del Negro. If hes finetheres no swelling and hes not changing his stride or his gait, all thatthen we increase his minutes. If hes really sore, then we back it off. The back-to-back might be a little bit of a challenge, but well make that decision tomorrow before the game.

Regarding tonights game, Del Negro focused on the significance, regardless of his ailing roster.

A lot of question marks right now, but we still have a game to play. We have to have a sense of urgency tonight, no matter whos playing and if were good enough, well win, said Del Negro. We dont really have a small forward with Luol and James being out so well just have to make do with a smaller lineup at times. We can play Hak Hakim Warrick and go a little bit bigger. Well just have to mix and match.