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Bulls' Joakim Noah could miss series opener

Joakim Noah's status is uncertain for the first

Joakim Noah's status is uncertain for the first round of the playoffs. Credit: AP

Joakim Noah is hurting and there’s a possibility the Bulls may be without their starting center for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Nets.

Noah is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, raising concern about his availability for the opener. He said there’s a tear in his foot, meaning he might be limited or could be forced to sit out the series altogether.

"It’s really disappointing for me," Noah told reporters following the Bulls’ practice Friday in Chicago. "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.”

Noah, who played in Chicago’s final two games after sitting out 12 of the previous 15, is expected to be replaced by Nazr Mohammed in the starting lineup tonight. Noah, considered the Bulls’ interior enforcer and one of the better defenders in the league, thinks he may have overdid it by trying to play down the stretch rather than allowing himself to heal.

"I mean I’ve got a tear in my foot, I’ve got a tear in my foot. It is what it is. I’m upset at myself because I let this linger for a long time and I have no one to blame but myself. I just wish I was a little bit smarter. I played games in the regular season that I probably shouldn’t have played, and it’s going to be tough but these are the cards I was dealt.’’

Still, he admitted it’s difficult for him to try to play through it. He’s only been on the court in 18 of the Bulls’ games since the All-Star break.

"It just flares up on me," Noah said. "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.”

New York Sports