That’s Tom Thibodeau’s story and he’s sticking to it.
When it comes to All-Star center Joakim Noah, the Bulls head coach doesn't humor the assembled media, the way he does when it comes to sidelined superstar Derrick Rose. Instead, Thibodeau takes the old-school view of players being capable of playing through pain—being hurt, as opposed to be injured—as long as they’re willing.
In Monday night’s 103-89 home loss to San Antonio—sans star players Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili—Noah, who is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot, played 38 minutes, notching a typical stat line of seven points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Sure, he didn’t appear to be 100 percent, but anyone who’s familiar with his competitive nature knows that it was solely his decision to play and that his contributions helped the Bulls, albeit in defeat.
“I watch what he’s doing on the floor, so that gave me a pretty good indication,” Thibodeau responded, when asked about monitoring Noah’s status. “I don’t know if you guys realize, but I do have a trainer, and we have medical people, too.”
All jokes aside, whether or not the center plays Wednesday in Boston or makes his debut appearance Sunday in the NBA All-Star Game, to be held in Houston, it should be understood that it’s a fluid situation. Even Noah’s postgame remarks reveal that.
“I feel fine,” he said initially. “I’m not worried about it.”