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Monday, April 8, 2013
Joakim Noah has minor setback

By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday that All-Star center Joakim Noah suffered "a little bit of a setback" after returning from an eight-game layoff because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

"We'll see where he is," Thibodeau said when asked about Noah's availability for Tuesday's game against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center. "I don't know, we'll see."

Racked with multiple injuries, the Bulls have just six games remaining before the playoffs start. Noah and Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) returned to action Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons, but their presence didn't make much of a difference in a 99-85 defeat. Thibodeau eased Noah back by giving him just over 21 minutes.

If Noah misses multiple games down the stretch, it cuts into his ability to round into form for the playoffs. The Bulls entered action Monday fifth in the East, a game ahead of the Atlanta Hawks.

"We don't want anyone to play who is injured," Thibodeau said. "At this time of the year, there are a lot of guys that are hurting that will play, but if a guy is injured we don't want him out there."

After Sunday's game Noah said he felt good. Thibodeau said the setback surfaced Monday morning.

Before his return, Noah used a number of remedies to help with his foot pain, including an injection of platelet-rich plasma (an enriched blood plasma) that is known for its healing properties.

As of Sunday night, Noah had every intention of participating in the playoffs.

"I haven't played in a while, so I think the more I play, the more I'll get into a rhythm and the better I'll feel out there," Noah told reporters in Detroit. "It's something that's going to linger on, so I'll just have to keep getting all the treatments and fight through it."

Belinelli said he was fine a day after he returned but admitted that his discomfort likely will persist through  the season. The Bulls have already been without Derrick Rose, who is rehabbing from May 12 ACL surgery.

Rip Hamilton (lower-back strain) and Taj Gibson (sprained MCL) are also sidelined, not to mention Luol Deng, who missed Sunday's game with a sore hip.

With so many injuries, Thibodeau was unsure about a starting lineup for Tuesday against Toronto.

"Ideally you'd like to know who you have each and every game. but that's not the case, so whatever the case is, we'll deal with it and find a group to get it done," Thibodeau said.