He couldn't run. He couldn't even walk. But this is the NBA playoffs.
So while one Chicago Bull -- who isn't hurt -- refuses to play, Joakim Noah -- who's actually hurt -- led the Bulls to an upset Game 2 win against the Nets in Brooklyn.
Noah is suffering from plantar fasciitis, an excruciating foot inflammation that causes "stabbing pain", and whose treatment is to "stay off your feet for several days when the pain is severe."
The only time Noah stayed off his feet was when he was jumping in the air pulling down 10 rebounds, four of them offensive. Those are the hustle plays, the "heart" plays.
Noah wasn't alone in Game 2. No Bull player scored over 15 points. In a season of team victories, this one stands above and beyond them all.
Sure, the Nets are Hollywood East -- lots of flash, not much substance. But this is a Bulls team without its best player, and a team that's been so injured, it's needed a traveling Mayo Clinic just to get five players on the court.
Yet, here are the Bulls. They're going home for Game 3 in a position to take complete control over the series by the time they leave Chicago.
It won't be because they have more talent on the court, or because they are healthier than the Nets. It's because they have a coach that squeezes every ounce of talent from his team. And it's because they have a leader on the court that won't let his team down.
It's Noah. There's no doubt about that now, is there Chicago?
I don't know why Derrick Rose isn't playing. I do know this, there's only two options: Rose is either hurt, and he and the Bulls organization is not telling the public the truth, or Rose's rehab was successful, he's healthy, but he's refusing to play.
If it's the former, then this article and all criticism of Rose are unfair, but all indications from Chicago are the latter.
This is a controversy that will begin to surface more publicly the further the Bulls progress in the playoffs.
Noah hasn't noticed it though -- he's too busy trying to win his team a championship on one foot.