SALT LAKE CITY -- Joakim Noah admitted late Friday night what anyone watching him over the past two games has already known: The plantar fasciitis in his right foot hasn't gotten much better. Noah, who missed three games over the past week because of the injury, scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 34 minutes in Friday's win over the Utah Jazz, but acknowledged that he is still bothered by the foot.
"There's really not that much you can do right now," he said, as he iced the foot in a huge bucket. "I just want to keep getting all the treatments, and I want to be out there on the court for my teammates."
Noah's presence has helped the Bulls, but is it actually hurting his ability to contribute later in the season? He admitted that he does not want to miss any more games at the moment.
"I really don't want to," he said. "I really don't want to. I know I didn't play a lot of minutes in the Denver game but it didn't get any worse from [Thursday]. So we'll see how it feels [Saturday], and hopefully I'm all right."
For his part, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau believes that Noah's struggles, especially with catching the ball over the past two games, are related more to rust than the lingering foot problem.
"He's not catching with his feet," Thibodeau said.
"It will come around. I thought today was a lot better than [Thursday]. He's got to keep working. It's difficult to play well when you miss a week of time. We talk about this all the time, even when you get a day off, you got to get your timing back just with a day off. You got to get used to handling the ball again and get your rhythm back. Now you add in a week off and an injury, you got to speed it up when you come back. There's no time to relax and wait and ease into it. You got to go."
Noah had plantar fasciitis in his left foot three years ago and has admitted that the worst thing he did at that time was try to play through the injury. He knows the risks involved by playing, but he is convinced right now that he can't make it much worse. Still, there are plenty of fans who are already wondering if Noah should sit for a few weeks and then see how the foot is feeling.
Noah wants to play, and Thibodeau wants him out on the floor, especially with the lack of depth the Bulls have this season at the center position, but the Bulls may be better served sitting Noah down for a while, and for the All-Star Game, since the only thing that is been known to cure plantar fasciitis is rest.
That's not a scenario the emotional center wants to think about right now.
"I'm feeling pretty good," he said. "I'm feeling pretty good, we won, so I'm happy. I got a couple days to rest. I'm trying to get my foot right, get all the treatments possible and just hoping that I can play through this and improve even though I'm playing."