Noah feels better, expects same workload

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said he feels better as he continues to deal with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and expects to play the same amount of minutes in Game 3 that he did Monday.

"I'm actually feeling a little better," Noah said after going through most of Wednesday's practice. "And just doing everything I can to keep the pain under control. It's an exciting time of year, and I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau seemed optimistic about Noah's progress and wanted to keep him on the same course. Noah gutted out 11 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes during Monday's win over the Brooklyn Nets, tying the series 1-1. Thibodeau was hesitant to say whether Noah will play even more minutes, but he was happy that Noah was able to move around during practice.

"We'll see," Thibodeau said. "We'll see after shootaround [Thursday]. But it will be roughly the same, same ballpark."

Noah is just trying to enjoy the moment, and he knows the rest of his teammates feed off his presence on the floor.

"You work hard in the summertime and you work hard all season to put yourself in the best position for the playoffs," Noah said. "And it's all about the playoffs. Until you're a part of it and feel it, then you know what it's all about. I've been in a few of these things, and I'm not taking none of it for granted. I appreciate it so much and I'm not taking it for granted because who knows? You never know how many of these you can play through."

Noah isn't the only player in this series dealing with plantar fasciitis -- Nets guard Joe Johnson sat out practice Wednesday and is a game-time decision for Game 3 because of the same injury. Noah can empathize with his pain.

"It really sucks," Noah said. "Plantar fasciitis sucks. It feels like you have needles underneath your foot while you're playing. That's what it feels like. You can imagine; you need to jump, you need to run, you need to do a lot of things while you're playing basketball, so you don't want needles on your feet, right?"

Thibodeau and his players have no doubt that Johnson, like Noah, will find a way to be out on the floor Thursday.

"Yeah, he'll be out there," Bulls guard Jimmy Butler said. "I feel like he's a key part of their team. ... I'm sure he'll rest up and be ready to go."