Noah unsure of return

Updated: March 5, 2010, 12:00 AM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Joakim Noah still isn't sure exactly when or even if he will be able to return to the Chicago Bulls lineup this season.

The young center, who has missed 11 games this season because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, has been shut down by the Bulls for three weeks. The hope is the rest will allow him to shake the injury, which has bothered him for the past few months.

"I'm not trying to put a date on it or anything," Noah said after the Bulls' 105-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. "I'm just trying to get ready as fast as I can. [Thursday night] was definitely a tough loss. Games like this are games that we really need to win, especially at this time of year. But we can't get discouraged. We got a lot of tough games coming up so we just got to get ready. I'm just trying to do the things I can control and get back there as soon as I can -- hopefully sooner than later."

As the team's emotional leader, Noah is frustrated that he is forced to sit on the bench and cheer on his teammates.

"It's the worst, man," he said. "I want to be out there and I want to play. At the same time if it's to play for five minutes and not be able to play the rest of the game, there's no [point]. It doesn't make sense. It's just tough right now, a tough loss. Obviously, of course I want to be out there. It's hard not to be. But I got to do what I got to do."

Noah is just hoping that the three-week rest will do the job, but even he realizes that it may take longer than that.

"I just got to stay positive, man," he said. "That's what I'm praying for. Just trying to go out there and be healthy."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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