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Sunday, February 10, 2013
Joakim Noah may miss All-Star Game

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah acknowledged that as much as he wants to play in next weekend's All-Star Game, he must put his team first.

Noah sat out Sunday's practice and rode a stationary bike at the Berto Center as he continued to deal with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He had 12 points and 11 rebounds in Friday's win against the Utah Jazz but admitted afterward his foot still bothered him.

"To me, [the All-Star Game is] pretty important," Noah said Sunday. "I mean, it's not that important, but it's something I want to do. I also have to do what's right for the team. There's obviously a bigger picture than the All-Star Game. We'll see."

Noah was selected to his first All-Star Game as an Eastern Conference reserve in January. He is averaging 11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.0 blocks this season.

Noah said he believed he would play against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called him a game-time decision.

"[My foot] hasn't been feeling too bad," Noah said. "It hasn't gotten any worse. I'm happy about that.

"I think what it definitely comes down to is pain tolerance. Everybody reacts to it differently. It's frustrating because I want to be out in there in practice. I want to be out there with my teammates. Just got to do what's right."

Bulls forward Luol Deng played just six minutes in last season's All-Star Game because of an injured wrist. But Thibodeau coached the Eastern Conference team last season and was able to monitor Deng's playing time.

Thibodeau said Sunday he wasn't concerned about Noah participating in the game just yet.

"I'll worry about that when he gets there," Thibodeau said. "I just want him to take care of himself, be ready for San Antonio. It's a valid question. We'll see where he is after these next two games."

Thibodeau said point guard Kirk Hinrich, who has missed the last five games with an elbow injury, rode a stationary bike on Sunday but will not be available to play Monday.

Thibodeau also said guard Marco Belinelli will be a game-time decision against the Spurs. Belinelli, who also rode a bike during Sunday's practice, missed Thursday's game due to a right ankle sprain but played Friday.