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Discouraged Noah staying optimistic
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose holds his right knee after colliding with Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Bibby during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday.


Associated Press

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Published: 3/1/2010 10:38 PM

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Before Monday's game, Joakim Noah supplied another update on an unchanging story.

His foot still hurts, he's not sure when he'll be ready to play again, but he really wants to be out on the floor.

"Whenever I feel like I can put enough weight on it to walk without a boot (I'll try to play again)," Noah said as he prepared for a session on the stationary bike. "All they tell me to do is rest."

Noah did confirm that he expects to sit out the rest of the week, which means at least two more games.

"With the treatments I'm doing, it needs a little bit of time to heal," he said.

Of course, Noah could miss more than a week. There is no working timetable for his return. Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, a plantar fasciitis sufferer in his playing days, summed up the situation.

"It could be a week, could be two weeks, could be a month," Del Negro said. "I just don't know, because plantar fasciitis is very difficult to monitor.

"He could stay out a month, come back and the first day it could be back bothering him again. He could be out a week and he could start playing and he might be able to manage it a little better."

Noah is clearly discouraged by the injury, but he did draw on his positive personality to finish the interview on an optimistic note.

"I'll be back, I know that," he said. "We just have to keep getting better and when the playoffs come we'll be ready. I won't be 100 percent, but at least I'll be able to play when it matters. That's the goal."

No deadline deals: Monday was the deadline for NBA players to be released by their current teams and be eligible for the playoffs with a new team, but the Bulls did not make a transaction.

Guard Devin Brown has played just four minutes in the last eight games but said accepting a buyout so he could be free to join another team wasn't in his plans.

"It wasn't a huge thought," Brown said. "It crossed my mind, but it is what it is. I see something here, so I'm just going to wait and see what happens."

Brown must see more than pine time in his Bulls future.

"I see minutes coming," he said. "Obviously, with the year I was having (in New Orleans), coming in here and sitting is not ideal. But I'm just going to wait my turn and see what happens."

Coach Vinny Del Negro suggested the Bulls still are seeking an extra big man (since Joakim Noah is out indefinitely), would see which players are released and take it from there. The Bulls would have to release someone to sign another player.

Bull horns: Lindsey Hunter returned to the team Monday after spending a week with his father, who had heart surgery in Mississippi. - Kirk Hinrich has hit 2 of 15 shots and scored a total of 6 points in the last two games. - Joe Alexander saw his first action since joining the Bulls, playing the final three minutes Monday.