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Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Bulls player preview: Joakim Noah

By Nick Friedell

With training camp almost here, Nick Friedell previews every player on the Bulls roster.

Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah hopes his foot injury is behind him this season.

Joakim Noah

Age: 28 | Pos.: C | Salary: $11,100,000

Role for Bulls in 2013-14: The emotional leader. As usual, Noah will be looked upon to be the spiritual compass for his team. After becoming an All-Star for the first time, Noah spent a majority of the second half of last season in pain because of ongoing issues with plantar fasciitis. He has proven to be one of the best defenders on the roster and one of the best decision makers with the ball, but if he can't stay healthy none of it will matter.

What happened this summer?: Noah spent his time globetrotting -- traveling to China and Africa, amongst other places. He spent plenty of time working with his personal trainer and close friend, Alex Perris, trying to get his feet in order.

What does the future hold?: In a recent interview with Bulls.com, Noah said he was feeling fine, but even he wasn't sure how his body would hold up.

“Obviously I’ve dealt with those injuries in the past and I’m hoping it’s all behind me,” Noah told the team's website. “Only time will tell, of course. That’s the reality of it. I just want to be as prepared as possible. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But with no regrets, because I’ll know that I put everything I have into it.

Bottom line: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said during the summer that he would try to limit Noah's minutes this season.

"Jo's minutes will come down," Thibodeau said during the Las Vegas Summer League. "We got strung out there because Kirk [Hinrich] got hurt. We had to really run our offense through Jo. But the second half of the season we got his minutes down which was probably a good number for him."

The real issue for the Bulls is whether or not Noah can stay healthy no matter how many minutes he plays. If he can't, the Bulls' thoughts of winning a title this year go down with him.