- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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DENVER -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah says he will play Friday against the Utah Jazz despite ongoing issues with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. His declaration came late Thursday night after he scored just two points and grabbed five rebounds in 23 minutes during a 128-96 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
"I'll play [Friday]," he said. "[I'm] holding up. Right now it's just embarrassing the way we played and we just got to come back ready to go."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau admitted Noah looked "rusty" in his return to the floor. Noah had missed the previous three games because of the injury.
"Just timing," Thibodeau said. "A lot of his game is finesse and timing, and it will come back. I thought he moved fairly well, but he's got to get out there and play; he's missed a lot of time."
Noah agreed with the assessment from his coach.
"I got to run better," he said. "I got to get my timing back. They got way too many easy baskets. Just defensively we were not there today, and it's been going on for a while so we need to regroup, refocus and be ready to go."
As for injured shooting guard Marco Belinelli, he said he would continue to get treatment and see how he felt Friday. Belinelli missed Thursday's game because of a sprained right ankle.
"I tried before the game to do something on my ankle, but I still have a little bit of pain," he said. "So I want to be sure 100 percent that I'm OK, so I'll see [Friday] morning how I'm feeling."
5dEthan Sherwood Strauss
6dMatt Walks, ESPN.com