Thibs hopes Noah won't need surgery

DEERFIELD. Ill. -- Rest and recovery is now on tap for many Chicago Bulls players now that the season has come to a close.

The walking wounded included Joakim Noah and his sore feet, Kirk Hinrich and his calf injury, Luol Deng and his complications from a spinal tap and, of course, Derrick Rose, who still needs to regain the necessary confidence after his ACL injury last April.

Coach Tom Thibodeau seemed most concerned with the health of Noah and Deng. Asked if Noah would need surgery for plantar fasciitis that has affected both of his feet since coming into the league, Thibodeau said that route hasn't been determined.

"Obviously, we'd like to avoid the surgery," Thibodeau said. "He has responded a lot better. He has found something that has worked. Hopefully the surgery won't be necessary."

As for Deng, who was never able to get completely healthy after the spinal tap before the final series of the season against the Miami Heat, rest will be the key.

"He's actually feeling better," Thibodeau said. "But he's de-conditioned. It was a very unusual circumstance. We have to make sure that he's completely healthy."

In addition, Taj Gibson will have a knee and ankle injury checked out as the summer moves forward.

It all made for Thibodeau's toughest coaching challenge.

"I think every year you're faced with new and different challenges," Thibideau said. "The Derrick part, we had an opportunity to prepare for. We had no idea going into the season what would happen. Would we get him back after the break? Would he miss the whole year? We knew that was a possibility. You hope for the best and plan for the worst. There were a number of other injuries we had to deal with. I loved the fight in the team."