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Bulls F Noah's status against Nets in question due to injury

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Associated Press
4/19/2013 4:25:45 PM
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Centre Joakim Noah's status for the Chicago Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets is in question because of his injured right foot.

Noah did little in practice on Friday. He said he is not sure if he'll play in Game 1 at Brooklyn on Saturday, and coach Tom Thibodeau called him day to day for the series.

"It's really disappointing for me," Noah said. "You work really hard in the summer and the season to be ready for situations like this, and just to be hurt is really disappointing. It is what it is. We fought hard to get here, and we're a very capable team. It's going to be an exciting series against Brooklyn."

Noah battled plantar fasciitis in the past and the issue cropped up again this season, causing him to miss 15 games since the start of February.

He played about 14 minutes in each of the final two regular-season games after sitting out the previous four, and even if he does suit up, he sounded like he will be limited. Whether he plays or not, veteran Nazr Mohammed figures to start at centre.

The news was better on Taj Gibson (knee), with Thibodeau hoping his minutes won't be limited after he played about 21 in the final two regular-season games.

There was no change in the status of Derrick Rose, who's been sidelined all year after having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. But the news about Noah was a bit of a surprise considering how upbeat he sounded after Wednesday's game against Washington.

"I'm just taking it game by game," Noah said. "It's hard, but it's not about me. I'm just going to do everything I can to get back there, help the team as soon as I can. But I'm in a lot of pain right now."

He was looking forward to playing post-season games in New York, where he grew up, but he was in a decidedly different mood on Friday.

He criticized himself for pushing too hard, saying he should have sat out more games.

"Even in the limited time I had in the last two games, it wasn't pretty. It's painful and I'm just trying to find solutions. It's tough, but at the end of the day it's not about one player. I'm really proud of this team. I think we put ourselves in a pretty good situation right now, and I think we're a very capable group regardless. But I definitely want to be there and help as much as I can."

Noah also had his post-season cut short last year when he sprained left ankle in Game 3 against Philadelphia last year. Already reeling after losing Rose in the opener, the top-seeded Bulls bowed out in the first round.

Now, Noah's injured again with the playoffs set to start.

"It's really hard, it's really hard," he said. "All the work you put in is to play in this situation. This is probably one of the hardest things I've had to deal with in my career right now. Going back home and playing in these playoff games means the world to me. Not being able to be ready for that is hard. I'm going to try and do everything I can to help the team."

Joakim Noah  (Photo: Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
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