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Bulls center Joakim Noah injury more than a foot note

Bulls center Joakim Noah sky hooks basket over Portlcenter J.J. Hickssecond quarter Chicago Bulls game against PortlTrail Blazers Thursday March

Bulls center Joakim Noah sky hooks a basket over Portland center J.J. Hickson in the second quarter of the Chicago Bulls game against the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday March 21, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 10, 2013 6:32AM



There was a hint of desperation in Joakim Noah’s voice following the Bulls’ loss in Detroit on Sunday.

The All-Star center was searching.

“I’m doing everything — massage, sleep in a splint, ice,’’ Noah said when asked about dealing with plantar fasciitis pain in his right foot. “If you got any remedies you want to give me, I’ll probably do it.’’

By Monday morning, Noah was still waiting for new suggestions.

According to coach Tom Thibodeau, Noah suffered a setback and there is no timetable for his return.

“Yeah, it’s a tough one,’’ Thibodeau said of the plantar fasciitis injury. “You never really know with that type of injury.

“We don’t want anyone to play who is injured. 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.’’

Noah had 13 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes against the Pistons Sunday, and said after the game that he felt good.

He felt differently Monday morning, however, and now after missing eight games leading up to Sunday’s loss, he is back on the shelf with just six regular-season games left.

“The good part is prior to last night, the previous eight games, I thought that was our best stretch of basketball throughout the course of the season,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘So that was the good thing.

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed with the way we played [Sunday] night, but the previous eight games we played very good basketball. So we’re more than capable and we’ve got to get it right.’’

The Bulls went 6-2 in the eight games Noah missed, beating Indiana, Brooklyn and ending Miami’s 27-game winning streak.

But for a team that’s been without Derrick Rose (left knee) all season, Rip Hamilton (back) since Feb. 26, Taj Gibson (left MCL) the past three games and Luol Deng, who was out Sunday with a sore right hip, having Noah miss an extended period of time with the playoffs approaching would be severely unfortunate.

“Whoever we have, that’s who we’re going with,’’ Thibodeau said. “We have more than enough to win.’’

The news on Marco Belinelli wasn’t too positive, either. The guard played against the Pistons, but the strained abdomen that cost him seven games was sore Monday. His reality? It’s a pain he will have to play through the rest of the season.

“I can still feel it a little bit, especially in the morning,’’ Belinelli said. “But I think we’ve got like five, six more games in the season. We’ve got to play, so I think I’m going to play with a little bit of pain. But that’s part of the game.’’

Belinelli knows that with postseason play around the corner, the hand he’s been dealt is less than ideal.

“We just think that we need to play the best we can with the guys we have on the court, so if we’re going to be with Jo, with Derrick, who knows that?’’ Belinelli said. “But we just need to go on the court and play our game.’’

NOTE: The Bulls signed forward Malcolm Thomas for the remainder of the season. He originally signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls on March 19, followed by a subsequent 10-day contract on March 29.



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