COMMENTARY | By the end of each NBA regular season, the injury bug has usually taken its toll on just about every team. However, this season injuries did much more than take a toll on the Chicago Bulls. They absolutely ravaged the team. Every single intended starter has missed significant time with one ailment or another. The only one able to remain intact for the most part was Carlos Boozer; which is ironic because he is probably viewed as the most injury-prone. Even key bench players such as Taj Gibson have been forced into extended absences.
The difference between the way the Bulls handled player injuries and the paths taken by several other organizations, is that while teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat looked to give its players rest to the point of overcompensation, the Bulls look to have not given enough. Except in the case of Derrick Rose, who has yet to return from a knee injury that received clearance weeks ago. This situation has been a whole other type of debacle.
Joakim Noah recently admitted to playing with plantar fasciitis in his foot when he should have been resting it. As a result, he has had a setback, and his availability for the Bulls' first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets is now in jeopardy. Gibson confessed that he returned too soon from a knee injury that caused him to miss several games. After doing so, he was forced to miss several more.
Noah is extremely important to the Bulls' postseason success. The team may have gotten by without him during stretches of the regular season, but they will not be going very far in the playoffs if he is not available. Losing a few more regular season games definitely would have been worth it if resting Noah sooner and longer could have led to him being healthier now.
While the Bulls may be without one of its best players, Eastern Conference foes the Celtics, Heat and New York Knicks look to have key members of the team rested, healthy and ready to go when the playoffs begin April 20. Players always want to play. This is why it is sometimes up to coaches to make key decisions with regard to those recovering from injury. With the revelations from Noah and Gibson, and the harsh road that may lie ahead for a shorthanded Bulls team, it is safe to wonder if the right calls were made.
Acamea Deadwiler is a Chicago-area native with several years experience covering the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, for Examiner.com. She has also been featured in Bounce magazine, SLAM Online, and various other publications. Follow Acamea on Twitter @AcameaLD.
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