Noah averaged 36.8 minutes a night last while dealing with plantar fasciitis throughout the second half of the year. Once the Bulls lost center Omer Asik to the Houston Rockets in free agency and failed to sign a competent replacement, Noah was forced to play nearly 40 minutes a night. Foot problems began hampering him in January and affected him throughout the rest of the campaign. While Noah toughed it out many nights as the Bulls ran a large part of their offensive through the center, it was often pretty clear he was nowhere close to 100 percent on the floor.
As the playoffs neared and it became apparent that Chicago would not have its entire roster healthy for a Finals run, it was speculated that the team may shut Noah down to avoid any further damage to his foot. The 28-year-old All-Star center went on to play in all of the Bulls' 12 playoff games, though, averaging 10.8 points and 9.6 rebounds before Chicago was eliminated by Miami in the conference semifinals.
Thibodeau also hinted that Luol Deng's minutes could come down next season. Deng has led the league in minutes played in two of the past three years and missed a handful of playoff games while dealing with the complications of a spinal tap.