Chicago Sun-Times

February 2010 Archives

Noah out 'for a few days'

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INDIANAPOLIS -- After playing 27 minutes Friday night in the overtime win against Portland at the United Center, center Joakim Noah didn't make the trip for Saturday night's game against the Indiana Pacers.

Noah, suffering from plantar fasciitis of the left foot, experienced pain after the game, but coach Vinny Del Negro said not playing Noah against the Pacers was part of the plan.

"I don't know if there's been a perfect plan, but I could have played him a little more against Philadelphia and Indiana and I kind of let him rest a little, figuring we needed him against Portland," Del Negro said. "I played him probably a few too many minutes against Portland, but he wasn't going to play in the back-to-back and we're kind of monitoring it. Dr. [Brian] Cole and the staff felt it was best to have some treatment [Saturday] and then see how he reacts.

"But he's gonna be out for a few days for sure and miss a few games here, which was kind of planned. We're just trying to figure out the best attack for this. He's gonna have some pain playing once in a while. Hopefully, we can minimize that as best we can with the treatment and the different modalities that we're doing."

Deng, Noah sit out practice

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Forward Luol Deng sat out much of practice Thursday because of a swollen left knee after banging it in the first half Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers. He is expected to play Friday when the Bulls host the Portland Trail Blazers at the United Center.

"We'll see how it is [Friday]," Deng said, "but it should be fine."

Center Joakim Noah also missed practice because of a previously scheduled doctor's appointment. He had a bone scan taken of his left foot, but said the plantar fasciitis hasn't gotten worse.

"No worries," Noah said. "I'm just trying to get back as much as I can and help this team. I'm hurting, obviously, but it's the end of the season right now and I want to be there for my team and I want to be as ready as possible come playoff time."

Noah returned to the Berto Center after the doctor's appointment and worked out on his own on the court. It also was his 25th birthday and coach Vinny Del Negro had a birthday cake for Noah.

"The birthday's been good," he said. "I went to go get treatment, get x-rays, hung out with some doctors, and missed practice. It's been pretty cool. A good day so far; at least it's nice outside."

Noah practices, but time still will be limited

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Joakim Noah participated in the Bulls' light practice on Tuesday, but his "request" for more playing time likely won't be met when the Bulls face the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

"We want him out there more," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's just that he's not healthy. His foot is healing as fast as it can.

"It's frustrating for him, I'm sure, but he's got to keep on getting his rest, getting his therapy and, hopefully, it'll continue to improve."

The plantar fasciitis in Noah's left foot is something he'll have to deal for the rest of the season.

"It's not gonna get better," Del Negro said. "I've had it. It's tough to get rid of. You get rid of it with a lot of rest, therapy and things. We're in February right now and we have a lot of basketball left. We need him to do whatever he can to get out there, get his minutes up, get his conditioning up and get some rebounds for us and be a presence for us."

Noah active again, Hunter out

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WASHINGTON -- The Bulls will use Joakim Noah off the bench again tonight against the Washington Wizards.

After missing seven games with plantar fasciitis of the left foot, Noah returned Saturday against Philadelphia and played seven minutes in the first half. He didn't play in the second half because the Bulls had such a big lead.

Lindsey Hunter didn't travel with the Bulls to Washington for "personal reasons." Hunter would have been inactive even if he was with the team.

Noah to play against 76ers

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In a surprise move, Joakim Noah will play tonight when the Bulls host the Philadelphia 76ers at the United Center.

Noah had missed seven games with plantar fasciitis of the left foot and hasn't done much basketball-wise since Feb. 3. Because the Bulls didn't have a shootaround because they were playing for a second straight night, Noah's only action with a team was 20 minutes of practice on Monday.

"We'll try to limit his minutes a little bit," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We'll put him in in the first half and see how he feels and then we'll make a decision at half time on how he's doing.

"If he feels good, I'll play him in the second [half]. If doesn't, I'll sit him down."

With the Bulls playing their fourth game in five nights, Noah said he'll try to provide a boost any way he can.

"I've been on the bike a lot and I've been doing as much as I can to try and keep my conditioning right," he said. "But obviously, those things are nothing compared to playing basketball. Whatever minutes coach gives me tonight, I'm just gonna go out there and do my best."

Alexander active for Bulls

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Alexander didn't arrive in town early enough to participate in the Bulls' morning shootaround, but he will be active for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Guard Lindsey Hunter joined Jerome James and Joakim Noah on the inactive list.

Alexander, a 6-8 forward who was the eighth pick in the 2008 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, was playing with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Developmental League at the time of the trade.

Newcomers join Bulls

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Three of the four players - Hakim Warrick, Ronald "Flip" Murray and Acie Law -- the Bulls acquired on Thursday participated in this morning's shootaround at the Target Center and will be in uniform tonight when the Bulls face the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Warrick and Murray will be thrust right into the playing rotation tonight, essentially filling the roles of the departed Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons.

"Oh yeah, they're playing," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We don't have a choice. We need bodies. They're quality players. Hopefully, they fit into what we're trying to do and accept their role and get after it.

"As they become more comfortable and I become more comfortable with their understanding of things, their roles will probably expand a bit."

Warrick, a 6-9 forward, is similar to Thomas in terms of being an explosive leaper.

"I think I bring some athleticism, some experience as well, a guy that can go out there play with high energy and score the ball," Warrick said. "I'll play my hardest and leave it all out on the floor no matter what."

Murray is a veteran 6-3 guard who isn't afraid to hoist shots when open.

"We played against them and they killed us every time we played against them," Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said. "Now we just need them to kill the other people to help this team out.

"They're real nice guys, they just want to win and that's what we need."

With the changes, which were essentially done to free up salary cap space in the summer, Rose was asked if the Bulls (27-26) were still a playoff team.

"Definitely," he said. "With the guys that we have, they're just gonna help us. They don't have any attitude problems or anything like that. They're coming in and they just want to ball."

Thomas traded to Bobcats

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The Bulls pulled the trigger right before the NBA's trading deadline on a deal sending Tyrus Thomas to the Charlotte Bobcats for Acie Law and Flip Murray, according. The trade is still pending league approval and hasn't been announced yet.

Bulls complete Salmons deal

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As expected, the Bulls completed the trade Thursday morning sending John Salmons to the Milwaukee Bucks. But the compensation the Bulls receive in the deal was completely re-worked at the last minute.

Instead of getting two mostly useless aging big men in Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson, the Bulls acquired Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander. The Bulls also agree to send second-round picks in 2011 and 2012 to Milwaukee. Also, Milwaukee has the option of switching first-round picks with the Bulls in 2010, so long as the Bulls' pick isn't a top-10 selection.

This deal is much better for the Bulls. Alexander was a high pick and hasn't done much, but Warrick is a useful power forward and can slip into Tyrus Thomas' role should he be dealt today.

Salmons not with team; Trade pending

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NEW YORK -- John Salmons isn't at Madison Square Garden for tonight's game with the New York Knicks. He was told to stay behind at the team hotel as the Bulls, according to sources, work on a deal involving the veteran guard.

"John Salmons will not be playing tonight," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's back at the hotel, and that's where that's at."

According to a source, Salmons is heading to the Milwaukee Bucks for the expiring contracts of Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson.

There are also reports that the Bulls are out of the Tracy McGrady sweepstakes and the Houston Rockets are trying to finalize a trade with the Knicks.

"I'm not at liberty to talk about that," Del Negro said of the McGrady deal. "My focus is the game and I'll talk to [vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman] after the game and see where we're at."

Noah out tonight vs. Knicks

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Center Joakim Noah will miss his fifth straight game tonight against the New York Knicks at the United Center with plantar fasciitis of the left foot.

Noah participated in part of Monday's practice and experienced some soreness Tuesday morning.

"We're just gonna take it day by day," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's feeling better, but the doctor and [trainer] Fred [Tedeschi] feel we need to rest it a little more to heal it up. Hopefully, he'll continue to respond to the treatment."

Rose will play; Noah uncertain

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Derrick Rose will play tonight against the New York Knicks at the United Center, but center Joakim Noah still is a question mark.

"His foot's a little bit sore," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said of Noah. "So we'll probably be a little bit cautious and get him some rest, but I want to wait and see."

Noah missed the last four games before the All-Star break because of plantar fasciitis of the left foot and may be held out a bit longer.

"We're going to look at that," Del Negro said. "Just give him some more rest for the next two, three, four, five [games]. It just depends. The plantar fasciitis is very difficult [to get rid of]. He's feeling better. He's not where he'd like to be and we want to be smart about it."

Noah wants to play, but realizes it might be better to rest a bit more.

"It's tough because I hate sitting," Noah said. "I want to be out there with the guys and I want to help the team, but you also have to do the right thing. It's not a question of one or two games. You have to look at the big picture and I want to be ready when it really counts. I don't want to rush it, come early and then feel the way I was 10 days ago when I was just limping around on the court. Even though I want to be out there, I have to be smart about it."

The Bulls re-signed forward/center Chris Richard to a second 10-day contract on Monday. Richard has been backing up Brad Miller in Noah's absence.

Noah practices some, Rose sits

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The Bulls returned to work Monday afternoon following the All-Star break. Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis of the left foot) participated in part of the practice at the Berto Center, but Derrick Rose -- fresh from his All-Star Game appearance Sunday -- sat out because of a sore right hip.

Even though Noah was on the court and Rose sat, Rose is most likely to play Tuesday when the Bulls host the New York Knicks at the United Center.

"We'll see how both of them feel," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We'll have shootaround in the morning.

"I think Derrick will be able to play. Joakim, I'm not sure yet."

Rose out of Skills Challenge

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The NBA announced that Derrick Rose won't participate in the Skills Challenge tonight. He will be replaced by Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Rose, who's still recovering from a bruised right hip, apparently is resting up for Sunday's All-Star Game.

Rose confident he'll play in All-Star Game

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DALLAS -- Derrick Rose's bruised right hip still is bothering him, but it doesn't appear it'll prevent him from playing in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night.

He participated in the East team's light practice session Saturday morning and sounded determined to play. When asked to place a percentage on his chances of playing, Rose left no doubt.

"It's gonna be 100 percent," he said. "I'm gonna play in that game."

If Rose does play, East coach Stan Van Gundy likely use him one significant stretch in each half so the hip doesn't stiffen up.

"He told me that if he's gonna play me he's thinking about lumps at a time," Rose said. "Nine minutes or something like that and take me out. But he said he'll tell me."

Whether Rose will participate in the Skills Challenge Saturday night still is up in the air.

"[Bulls physician Brian] Cole is meeting me right after this to talk about it," he said. "After that, after treatment, we'll see what's gonna happen after that."

Rose hopes to play in All-Star Game

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Two days after suffering a bruised right hip in a nasty fall during the Bulls' last game before the All-Star break, Derrick Rose said Friday the injury is improving every day.

"I'm feeling alright, I'm feeling better," he said. "I'm getting a little rest, getting a little treatment. It's coming along."

Rose is optimistic he'll improve enough by Sunday night to play in the 59th NBA All-Star Game in Cowboys Stadium.

"That's what I'm hoping for if everything goes right," he said. "The treatment's going well. Hopefully, I'll be on the court for Sunday's game."

Rose, though, wasn't as optimistic about participating in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.

"I really don't know about that," Rose said. "I've been trying to get treatment all day. They've got me running around a lot right now, so we'll still have to see about that."

Rose out with bruised right hip

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Derrick Rose suffered a bruised right hip early in the game Wednesday night when he was fouled by Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and crashed hard to the court.

On the play, Rose drove to the basket and was met by Howard. Rose made the basket, but the contact got him off-balance and he tumbled to the court without being able to brace himself much and landed on his hip and lower back.

He stayed down on the court for a while. After a timeout, he went to the free-throw line to complete the three-point play with 9:36 left in the first quarter. The Bulls then committed a foul as soon as the Magic inbounded the ball so they could get Rose out immediately.

Later in the first quarter, the Bulls announced Rose would not return.

Rose named to U.S. Men's National Team

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Derrick Rose was among 27 players named to USA Basketball's Men's National Team for the next three years on Wednesday. From that group the rosters for the 2010 FIBA World Championships and the 2012 London Olympics will be chosen.

Rose said his focus will be to do enough to be among the 12 players on the Olympic roster.

"It would just be an honor to be on that team," he said. "I remember watching the Olympics with my mom. I think the game's used to come on real late at night. It's a dream of mine and hopefully that day will come."

The group includes nine players -- Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams -- who were members of the team that won the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Rose is one of a handful of younger players -- a group that also includes LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay and Russell Westbrook -- added to the team to serve as a bridge to the future.

"With these 27 players we've got a great mix of players who are now experienced in the international game and some of the most promising and exciting players coming up through the USA basketball program," said Mike Krzyzewski, the U.S. coach. "I know I speak for the entire coaching staff when I say we're excited about this group of players and we're eager to begin our preparations for the 2010 world championships."

Thomas to play regular role

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INDIANAPOLIS -- After intimating that Chris Richard might continue to take some of Tyrus Thomas' minutes on Monday, coach Vinny Del Negro said an hour before tip-off that Thomas will be the first big man off the bench tonight when the Bulls play the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

"Tyrus and John [Salmons] usually come in about the five- or six-minute mark of the first quarter; that won't change," Del Negro said. "And then we'll get Chris in there to give Brad [Miller] a little bit of a rest depending on matchups.

"A lot of times now they've been going small with [Troy] Murphy at the five and they kind of play four other smalls. We'll just see how the matchups go and where we feel we can exploit, whether we want to stay big when they go small or maybe we'll go small."

Thomas returns to the Bulls

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After serving his one-game suspension for a profanity-laced tirade against coach Vinny Del Negro, Tyrus Thomas was back on the practice court Monday and will be back in the rotation when the Bulls play the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night in Indianapolis.

Thomas declined to speak with the media following practice. Del Negro said the incident is in the past and Thomas is back in his good graces.

"We've got to move on from there," Del Negro said. "We've got a game tomorrow night; let's focus in on that. For me, that stuff's in the past."

Said point guard Derrick Rose: "He apologized right after that happened, just saying he was sorry and stuff like that, so we got that out the way. Now, we're focused on just winning games. That was in the past."

Luol Deng didn't practice with a right shoulder issue, but is expected to play against the Pacers.

Bulls begin life without Noah

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ATLANTA -- Now that Joakim Noah is out at least through the All-Star break, the Bulls officially began trying to make up for the loss of their starting center (and arguably their second most-important player) at this morning's shootaround at Philips Arena.

"He's been struggling with it for a while, since really the road trip," coach Vinny Del Negro said of Noah. "He hasn't been the same the last few games. We just felt with the All-Star break and things coming, it was best to get him some rest and treatment.

"But it's a big loss for us. Jo's had a tremendous year for us - he's second in the league in rebounding - so we're gonna have to gang rebound. Everybody's gonna have to chip in and step up a little bit. Tonight's a tough matchup for us [against the Atlanta Hawks], not only with their talent but their athleticism and size up front."

Brad Miller, who's playing with a sore left knee, will start in Noah's place. Despite Miller's health concerns, Del Negro said the veteran center won't have a minutes limit.

"We'll just see how he goes, how he's feeling," Del Negro said. "His knee's still a little bit swollen. Sometimes once he gets going it's better to let him play because once he sits down it stiffens up on him.

"We'll just monitor that, see how he feels, but we need him to step up and play well for us."

To shore up their frontcourt depth, the Bulls signed center/forward Chris Richard, who was with them in the preseason. Richard is expected to be in uniform tonight.

Bulls shut Noah down through All-Star Break

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The Bulls announced Thursday night that center Joakim Noah -- who is suffering from plantar fasciitis of the left foot -- will be shut down at least through the All-Star break.

Noah was in Atlanta with the Bulls on Thursday and attended the team's practice session at Georgia Tech -- watching from the sidelines -- but he was scheduled to return to Chicago on Friday for treatment.

"After visiting with Joakim and our medical staff, we all agreed that this was the best course of action," general manager Gar Forman said.

After Noah struggled up and down the court Wednesday night in Philadelphia, he was asked if he would be better off sitting out for a while.

"I don't know," he said. "We don't have a lot of depth at the five [center] besides me and Brad [Miller]. I know Brad is playing hurt as well. Whatever the coaches want at the end of the day. I'm gonna go out there and suit up until they tell me I'm hurting the team.

"I want to be out there and I want to help the team as much as possible, so I'm not gonna be the one to say I'm gonna sit out a game. The only reason I did that in Houston is I literally couldn't play."

Bulls consider Noah options

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ATLANTA -- The Bulls are hopeful that Joakim Noah can keep playing despite suffering from plantar fasciitis of the left foot. But coach Vinny Del Negro knows the organization might be forced to sit the 6-11 center down if he continues to be limited last he's been the previous two games.

"Yeah, absolutely," Del Negro said Thursday. "We're just going to try to see what we can get out of him until he can get some rest at the All-Star break. We'll monitor it every day. Some days, you feel better than others with it. We'll use him as much as he can move."

The problem is the only cure for plantar fasciitis is extended rest -- at least six weeks -- and that's not an option right now.

"If you shut him down for a week, that doesn't guarantee he will feel better," Noah said. "That's not how that condition works. You don't know. I had it for two years when I played."

Collins on Rose, Bulls

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Contrary to what you may have read a few weeks ago in an report, TNT analyst Doug Collins never was contacted by the Bulls about replacing Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro.

But Collins is close with Del Negro, vice president John Paxson and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, so he's as plugged in as anyone in the media concerning the Bulls. I had a chance recently to speak briefly with Collins and he had a couple of interesting comments:

On Derrick Rose and his slow start:

"Derrick Rose did tweak his ankle [in training camp], but I personally don't think he came into camp in great shape. I think he's learned a valuable lesson this year about the importance of the offseason and preparing himself, especially when you're coming off the rookie of the year and what he did."

On the players being too satisfied with their playoff lost to the Boston Celtics last season:

"I remember talking to Jerry Reinsdorf in the summer last year. He was very happy with the way the team competed and everything, but he said, 'You know, I had to let the team know, "The fans here love you so much, don't forget that you lost that series. You didn't win it, you lost it." So we've got places to go; we have to get better.'"

Iverson to miss Bulls game

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The Philadelphia 76ers announced that guard Allen Iverson will not play tonight against the Bulls because one of his children is ill.

Iverson was excused from practice on Tuesday to deal with the issue. He is expected to play Friday at New Orleans. He has averaged 14.4 points in 25 games since he returned to the Sixers in December.

Noah, Gibson sit out practice again

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Center Joakim Noah and forward Taj Gibson (both suffering from plantar fasciitis) didn't practice again Monday, but both are expected to be in the starting lineup when the Bulls host the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday at the United Center.

Center Brad Miller (sore knee) did return to practice on Monday after sitting out Sunday.

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