MINNEAPOLIS -- After participating in the entire practice Tuesday,
Joakim Noah suffered swelling in his right ankle overnight and sat out
the Chicago Bulls' morning shootaround Wednesday at Target Center.
The Bulls said Noah now is a game-time decision against the Timberwolves.
The shootaround is ongoing, so coach Tom Thibodeau has yet to comment on Noah's situation.
Against the second-worst team in the NBA in Minnesota, the Bulls shouldn't have much problem defeating them tonight. However, Noah's lingering ankle problem is a slight cause for concern.
Lingering because it will stay with him through, what fans hope, a long playoff run. The Bulls as a team have gotten through 73 games this season without much injury problems, however, Noah and Carlos Boozer have missed a combined 56 games.
It could be smart for the Bulls to sit out Noah against a lowly Timberwolves team, rest him up for the back-to-back game coming up on Friday in Detroit and Saturday against Toronto.
With Nikola Pekovic and Darko Milicic at center, the Bulls will be OK using a two-man rotation of Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik.
Simply put: The Timberwolves just aren't that good. There's a reason they're the worst team in the West and second-worst behind the 15-win Cleveland Cavaliers.
With Noah hobbling, and the Bulls set to play a game that they should win even without Noah, it would be foolish to send him out there unless his ankle has improved during the day.
More to come.
Update: Noah is indeed out for tonight's tilt against the Timberwolves, according to K.C. Johnson.
Kurt Thomas will start in his absence. The Bulls have fared well without Noah, going 23-8 with the 6'11" big man out of the lineup.
With Noah at less than 100 percent, this is a smart move by the Bulls. The Bulls need Noah come playoff time, not against a Timberwolves team that's a putrid 17-57.
Noah did feel better, and Tom Thibodeau was optimistic about Noah moving forward.
"The swelling is down and we thought the rest would be better this
morning," Thibodeau said. "It's better today than it was yesterday."
Expect Noah to play Friday in Detroit unless there's a setback. He's a gamer and it's likely killing him he couldn't play tonight in Minnesota.
Noah or no Noah, the Bulls should win this one going away. And expect a major bounce back from MVP candidate Derrick Rose, who's coming off a 10-turnover game against Philadelphia.