Joakim Noah injury: Bulls' center to return to action Thursday

USA TODAY Sports

After missing the last three games with plantar fasciitis, Noah expects to play against the Nuggets on Thursday.

Joakim Noah told reporters on Thursday that he expects to play against the Nuggets, welcome news for a Bulls team that is racked with injuries. Noah had missed the last three games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Blog A Bull, SB Nation's Bulls blog, has more on what to expect from Chicago tonight.

With Derrick Rose still recovering from knee surgery, Carlos Boozer missing time due to a hamstring injury and Kirk Hinrich dealing with a sore elbow, Noah's absence left the Bulls painfully thin in the last week.

And while Chicago went 1-2 in that span, perhaps the real story was the heavy minutes Tom Thibodeau gave to his remaining healthy starters. Both Taj Gibson and Luol Deng played the full 48 in their loss to the Nets, as Thibodeau refused to go deep into what's left of his bench.

He'll have to be careful with Noah, who seems to have buckled a bit under the strain of heavy minutes this season. Noah made his first All-Star team, averaging 12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks on 46 percent shooting, but if the Bulls expect him to maintain that level of production through the playoffs, they may need to find more time for him to rest.

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