Joakim Noah is hurting, and the Bulls might be without their starting center in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series with the Nets.
Noah is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, raising concern about his availability for Saturday night's 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 after 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 is considered the Bulls' interior enforcer and one of the better defenders in the league.
Noah played in Chicago's final two games but missed 12 of 30 games after the All-Star break. He's expected to be replaced by Nazr Mohammed in the starting lineup.
He thinks he might have overdone it by trying to play down the stretch rather than allowing himself to heal.
"I've got a tear in my foot, I've got a tear in my foot,'' he said. "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.''