NBA Roundtable

Joakim Noah Returns

In General NBA on March 22, 2010 at 3:55 am

The Chicago Sun Times reports

After missing three weeks with plantar fasciitis of the left foot, Noah had seven points (5-for-8 from the free-throw line) and four rebounds in 9:22 of playing time.

”My foot felt great; my lungs felt terrible,” Noah said. ”I was a little rusty, but it felt great to be on the court.”

For now, the plan is to play Noah only about 10 minutes a game.

Expect coach Vinny Del Negro to follow the playing-time guidelines closely this time. Some in the organization were upset that he played Noah 27 minutes against the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 26.

That game went into overtime, and the Bulls wouldn’t have won without Noah’s contributions, but the plan that night was to play him around 20 minutes and see how the foot reacted. It didn’t react well and Noah had to be shut down again.

”There’s a process in place from Dr. [Brian] Cole and Fred [Tedeschi, the team’s trainer],” Del Negro said. ”You just can’t throw him out there and think all of a sudden his foot is gonna feel great.

”So we’ll try to build it up and be smart about it. He wants to be out there more, but let’s just see how he reacts. We’re gonna control that situation a little bit until he feels better when we extend his minutes.”

So, Joakim Noah had returned to action but his playing time will be restricted.

Good news for Chicago. It’s hard to tell how much of an impact Noah will have due to his health + limited playing time + uncertainty of how long those minute restrictions will be in place. It could give them a real shot at making the playoffs or it might be too small a contribution to push them past the stuttering Raptors.

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