Carlos Boozer could play against the Indiana Pacers tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse after missing the last three games with a sore hamstring. But point guard Kirk Hinrich (elbow) will miss his third consecutive game and center Joakim Noah, who has missed the last two games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, is looking forward to returning Thursday against the Nuggets in Denver.
Boozer and Noah will be a ''game-time decision'' according to coach Tom Thibodeau, but Boozer sounded much more optimistic he might be able to play.
''I feel good,'' Boozer said Monday morning prior to the Bulls shootaround at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ''Just treatment. A lot more movement. If it feels good, I'll be out there.''
Noah said he did some shooting on Sunday but still is not running or jumping and does not expect to play Monday night.
''I'm moving in the right direction,'' Noah said. ''Hopefully by Thursday I'll be ready to go.''
After missing 18 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot in the 2009-10 season, Noah feels he has a better handle on a similar injury to his other foot this time.
''I've been through this before. I know what to expect,'' he said. ''I've gotten all the treatment for this stuff before. I'm hoping that a couple of more days rest and I'll be back at 100 perdent and I won't have to deal with this anymore.''
Noah's plantar fasciitis in 2009-10 became more than it should have been on a couple of levels. He tried to play through it and delayed his recovery. And limits on his playing time after he returned led to an altercation between Bulls general manager John Paxson and coach Vinny Del Negro that fractured the already brittle relationship between the two. Del Negro was fired after that season and replaced by Thibodeau.
''The one in '09-'10, I just tried to act like it wasn't there,'' Noah said. ''I just played through it and it was a mistake. I probably played with it for a month until I couldn't [play] any more.
''I stopped a lot earlier [this time.] I probably played on it for 5-6 games. I just knew what direction it was going. I feel like, with a couple of more days of treatment, I'll be OK.''