Give it a rest

Bulls' mistreatment of Noah's foot injury is not surprising

March 10, 2010, 5:00 PM

By: Marc Silverman

My co-host, Tom Waddle, likes to say he's a few credits shy of his medical degree. I don't have any credits in medicine, but I do have common sense, and I believe that's something the Bulls have lacked when it comes to the handling of the Joakim Noah injury.

Joakim Noah

Mike DiNovo/US Presswire

The Bulls should have shut down Joakim Noah for a few weeks as soon he began suffering from plantar fasciitis.

First, a little history. The Bulls have a recent track record for downplaying the seriousness of an injury. Just a little over a year ago, the Bulls didn't seem to believe Luol Deng was suffering from a stress fracture and frowned upon him asking for a second opinion. On March 4, 2009, the Bulls sent out a press release stating Deng had a slight stress fracture. Here is the final paragraph of that press release that strongly hinted that Deng would return in a few days:

Symptoms, developing Saturday, when the Bulls played the Houston Rockets, prompted this recent evaluation. He has been restricted from high level activity since then. At this point, he will undergo "active rest," meaning that he will be encouraged to challenge himself physically, and if symptoms remain minimal, he will be allowed an expeditious return to play. These decisions will be made on a day-to-day basis.

Expeditious return, huh? Symptoms minimal? Deng didn't play another game the rest of the season. He actually wasn't totally healthy until just weeks before this season's training camp.

This gives me reason to doubt the Bulls and their training staff for their inconsistent treatment of Noah. Plus, I suffered from plantar fasciitis this past summer and learned a great deal about the variations of the injury.

Noah was hampered by it for a few weeks before the Bulls sat him for one game. They let him return, and his play suffered. After finally giving in and shutting him down, they allowed Noah to leave the country for a beach vacation away from daily treatment during the All-Star break.

A couple of weeks ago, the Bulls allowed him to return to play between 7-10 minutes per game. What good did that do? Why play someone for seven minutes and contribute nothing when he could be giving the foot more rest and have a better chance for a full recovery before the season ends?

Finally after playing a total of 26 minutes in three games, Vinny Del Negro admittedly got "greedy" and played Noah 27 minutes against the Blazers. Following that game, Noah was shut down again.

Forget Noah helping this team getting to the playoffs or in the playoffs. He won't be the same until next year. Maybe that would've been the case all along, but the Bulls didn't help matters by changing the way they treated the injury several times.

This is not a second guess either, I've stated from the start that Noah needed to be shut down for several weeks if you wanted to get something out of him during the stretch run. The Bulls and leg injuries are starting to sound like the Cubs with arm injuries.

• Say what you want about Lovie Smith, but he was at Julius Peppers' door at the start of free agency and brought him to Chicago. Ultimately, it was the money that got him signed, but Smith's appearance didn't hurt.

My question for the Bulls: When the long anticipated free agency period begins this summer, who will they send to D-Wade's door? John Paxson? Gar Forman? Vinny? A new coach? Whoever it is, the bar has been set by the Bears in free agency. Can the Bulls match their success?

• I still don't like to pay more money for Bears tickets, but I won't kick and scream as much when you spend some money to improve the team. So yes, cash our checks Bears as long as you keep writing them for good players. While you're at it, can I please get a good safety and some help at receiver?

• Is there anything more overrated than the stadium Jumbotron? Sure, you get some replays and highlights here or there, but it's mainly a vehicle to bring in money for teams via advertising.

That being said, bring one to Wrigley Field. Put it on one of the rooftops, perhaps Miller Lite will sponsor it instead of their billboard in right field. I welcome the new revenue so the Ricketts family can put it back into the team.

As long as you keep the scoreboard intact, put in a video board somewhere else. Worried about losing the charm? There's no charm in losing. A video board could add the revenue for one more premier player to the Cubs roster. And yes, I'm open to naming rights as well. Just keep the park at Clark and Addison and tweak away if it means helping the team on the field.

Magic Johnson/Larry Bird

Steve Lipofsky/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

The HBO documentary on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird is quality entertainment.

• Just finished watching the HBO documentary on Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Two thumbs up and four stars. HBO always tells a great story, whether it's on Real Sports or a documentary like this.

There's no bigger Jordan fan than me, but you'll never get an argument from me that it was Larry and Magic who saved the NBA. This 90-minute special captures both legends from their showdown in the NCAA tourney in 1979 to their shared Dream Team experience in 1992. It captures their similar basketball skill as well as their completely different personalities. Do what you can to DVR this must-watch show.

• Stop playing Jeff Samardzija like a yo-yo. Up in the majors one minute, down in the minors the next. A starter one minute, a reliever the next. Let the kid pitch and live up to what he's supposed to be. Just because Angel Guzman went down and you've assembled a poor bullpen to begin with, don't stray from the plan to make Samardzija a starter.

• Just got back from Mexico, where I experienced one of the coolest moments watching a game on TV. Who would've thought there would be a Canadian hockey bar in Playa Del Carmen?

That's where my girlfriend and I took in the Olympic gold medal hockey game. It was packed wall to wall. Had to be 300 people in the indoor/outdoor venue. About 290 were Canadian.

Watching a game in a rapid environment for yours truly could be dangerous, but not one person got obnoxious. I was disappointed Team USA couldn't pull it out in OT, but was happy to shake hands with the jovial crowd.

US vs. Canada in Mexico. All of North America was covered. It just meant so much to them. I'll save my celebration for the Stanley Cup finals.

On a related note, the Riviera Maya is now No. 1 on my Mexican vacation power rankings. Cabo falls to No. 2, Puerto Vallarta No. 3, Acapulco No. 4 and Cancun is last. The only tropical vacation spot that has treated me better than Riviera Maya is Aruba. Need a break from the Chicago weather? Head to the Riviera Maya. Good deals abound and you'll thank me later.

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