Thibodeau on Pacers: They put a premium on defense
INDIANAPOLIS — Wearing slippers as the Bulls entered the visiting locker room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse prior to their morning shootaround was a giveaway that All-Star center Joakim Noah won’t play in Monday night’s game against the Pacers.
Noah, who is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot, confirmed that fact minutes later.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to go tonight, but I’m just moving in the right direction and hopefully by Thursday, I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “I’m hoping that [with] a couple more days rest, I’ll be back in the lineup and I won’t have to deal with this anymore.”
Noah has previously dealt with the ailment, though in his left foot, during the 2009-10 campaign.
“I feel like you definitely learn from your experiences. I’ve been through this before, so I kind of know what to expect. I’ve gotten all the treatment and stuff before,” he explained. “The one in ’09-10, I kept playing through it, kept playing through it. I probably played with it for a month until I couldn’t anymore. This, I stopped a lot earlier. I probably played on it for maybe five, six games and I just knew what direction it was going in, so in ’09-10, I tried to act like it wasn’t there, play through it and that was a mistake. I feel like with a couple more days of treatment, I think I’ll be available.”
“Just rest, ice, laser treatment. I actually shot around yesterday, but no jumping, no running. Just resting it,” Noah continued, describing how he’s been dealing with the injury. “Hopefully I’ll be 100 percent and be able to do what I do.”
Despite Noah’s stance on the injury, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau claimed Noah, who has missed the team’s last two games, would be a game-time decision Monday.
“He’s a little bit better, did a little yesterday,” he said. “We’ll see where he is tonight.”
Thibodeau said both Boozer, who is dealing with a right hamstring injury and has missed three consecutive contests, would also be a game-time decision.
He’s feeling better. We’ll see where he is tonight,” Thibodeau said about Boozer. “Each day, he’s gotten better. He’s close.”
Boozer didn’t divulge much information himself.
“It will be a game-time thing, but I feel good,” he said. “Just treatment, a lot more movement, so if it feels good, I’ll be out there.”
One player who definitively won’t be in the lineup Monday is starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, who didn’t make the trip to Indianapolis after flying back to Chicago from Brooklyn to be reexamined Friday by team physician Dr. Brian Cole after having discomfort in his right elbow following the Bulls’ road win Wednesday evening in Milwaukee.
Hinrich has missed the Bulls’ last two games.
If the trio of injured starters don’t play Friday, Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson will likely start, with Thibodeau possibly leaning toward second-year swingman Jimmy Butler in a reprise of Saturday’s small-ball lineup against Atlanta, though veteran backup center Nazr Mohammed is a possibility, given the Pacers’ big frontline.
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