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Joakim Noah might require surgery on his right foot

Nate RobinsNorris Cole

Nate Robinson, Norris Cole

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Updated: May 17, 2013 12:27AM



As the Bulls walked off the court Wednesday night in Miami — again sent on summer vacation by the Heat — the team had numerous roster holes.

If there was good news, it was that most of those holes were caused by injuries.

That’s why coach Tom Thibodeau was optimistic about next season, even with Rip Hamilton, Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli likely wearing different uniforms.

As far as overtaking the Heat, he said, “We have a lot of work to do to do that. You have to give Miami a lot of credit. They are the defending champion, they are playing at a high level and it takes a big-time commitment to beat them.’’

Or maybe a healthy one.

Derrick Rose (left knee) missed the season. Luol Deng (complications from a spinal tap) and Kirk Hinrich (bruised left calf) missed the semifinal series.

Deng continued to feel better Thursday. Hinrich was expected to recover fully with no surgery needed.

Thibodeau revealed that the plantar fasciitis in Joakim Noah’s right foot could require surgery but that Noah would try rehabilitation first.

“That hasn’t been determined,’’ Thibodeau said of Noah undergoing surgery. “Obviously, we’d like to avoid the surgery. He has responded a lot better. He has found something that has worked.

“We want him to get completely healthy That will be the focus, getting him back to 100 percent. He needs some rest, as most of the guys do. Same thing with Luol. We have to get him completely healthy again. Those are two players that we’ll be on top of right away.’’

The team has a $5 million option on Hamilton and almost certainly will buy him out for $1 million. They would like Robinson and Belinelli back, but the free-agent market likely will dictate otherwise.

“You have to look at all the aspects of what we’re doing, where we are salary-cap wise, what the market calls for,’’ Thibodeau said.

Bench mobbed

The Bulls will look for more shooting in the draft and free agency, but Thibodeau knows that the bench likely will have to again be revamped with a lot of one-year deals.

“That’s sort of the way the NBA is going,’’ Thibodeau said of building depth. “I also think we have a core of guys that will be back, so that will be helpful.’’

Pitch for Nazr

One reserve the Bulls could bring back is center Nazr Mohammed, who was huge off the bench the last few months.

“Yeah, I thought Nazr was tremendous,’’ Thibodeau said.

“Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity with him, but again, you don’t know what the market will call for.’’

Player to watch

Rookie Marquis Teague won’t have a very long break. The team has plans to get him back to Chicago soon to start working out and getting ready for Summer League ball.

“Huge, huge, and he’ll be back shortly,’’ Thibodeau said of the importance of Teague’s offseason. “Hopefully he can have a very productive summer, play well in the Summer League, and hit the ground running next season.’’



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