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Nets vs. Bulls: How healthy is Joakim Noah?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The "big story" heading into the first round playoffs series between the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets is whether or not Derrick Rose will play. And as of Friday Thursday, just over 24 48 hours from the start of Game One, we still have no idea whether or not he'll play.

A bigger concern, however, might be about Joakim Noah and just how healthy he is heading into the playoffs.

Noah, who played in just three of the Bulls last 15 games, did play in the regular season finale last night against the Wizards, but only put in just over 14 minutes of work. And after the game, he spoke with the media about the plantar fasciitis he's been dealing with, noting that he doesn't think he'll be able to "shake the rust" and go hard in the upcoming playoff series.

From ESPN Chicago:

Even he isn't sure if he will be able to play at his usual high level throughout the playoffs because of the pain.

"Only time will tell," he said as he iced his foot in a big bucket in front of his locker. "But I'm going to give it everything I got. All I want is to go out there, give everything I got for the team and play at a high level."

Noah also noted that he and Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau have not discussed whether he'll be on a minutes limit against the Nets.

There's no doubt that the return of Derrick Rose can be a bit of a game-changer for the Bulls, but the health of Noah is a much more important issue. He is the centerpiece of this team right now, especially given how fantastic he's been on the defensive side of the ball this season.

So while we keep an eye on Rose's status, the real health concern is in Noah's foot and just how healthy he is heading into this first round series.