Joakim Noah continues to battle foot problems

The Nets are bringing postseason basketball to Brooklyn, and Joakim Noah might have to miss the party.

Noah, who grew up in New York, is battling foot problems and might be sidelined when the series opens Saturday, leaving the Chicago Bulls without their top option to defend Nets All-Star center Brook Lopez.

”It’s really hard, it’s really hard,” Noah said Friday. ”All the work you put in is to play in this situation. This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my career right now. Going back home and playing in these playoff games means the world to me. Not being able to be ready for that is hard. I’m going to try and do everything I can to help the team.”

Noah’s absence could make a huge difference in what shapes up as a competitive series between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds in the Eastern Conference. Chicago won three of the four meetings during the regular season, but only one game was decided by more than four points.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press