Boozer to miss 4th straight game, Noah returns

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Boozer to miss 4th straight game, Noah returns

Thursday, March 17, 2011
Posted: 11:45 a.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

NEWARKCarlos Boozer will miss his fourth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.

The ankle isnt ready yet. It is getting better, though, Boozer said after Thursdays practice at the Prudential Center. I tried to do a little bit more, but its not ready yet.

While Boozer wont suit up for Thursdays Bulls road game against the Nets, he didnt rule out the possibility that he could play in Fridays game against the Pacers in Indianapolis.

Well see. Its tough, but at the same time, I know its getting better. Im just waiting for it to heal up so I can get back out there, said the power forward. Theres still a lot of pain, still bugging me a little bit, but its getting better day by day.

The swelling in the ankle is still there, but its coming down.

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With the season in the stretch-run stage and the Bulls looking forward to a potential deep playoff run, caution is key, as Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau has consistently talked about the team being healthy toward the end of the regular season.

Hes getting better each day and we want to be smart. We dont want this thing to be reoccurring. We want him completely healthy before he plays. Hes getting better and better each day, so whether its today, tomorrow, a week from now, its when hes 100 percent because I dont want this injury lingering, said Thibodeau. Its the smart thing to do right now because of where we are in the season.

I just dont want it to be where he comes back, plays a game, then he has to sit a game, play a game.

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Meanwhile, Bulls center Joakim Noah will return for Thursdays matchup after missing Tuesdays home win over Washington due to illness.

Noah said his energy level for the Nets game would be all right, but more notable is the fact that the contest will be his first without a bandage to protect his right thumb, which he had surgery on in December, causing him to miss 30 games.

It feels all right, feels pretty good, said Noah. Im not going to play with the bandage anymore.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

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Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks' bottom six steps up in Colorado

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Jamal Mayers discuss the bottom six carrying the Blackhawks to a come-from-behind win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Later, Mayers weighs in on possible targets with the NHL trade deadline just six weeks away.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below:

Pro Football Focus gives Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman historical 2016 grade

Pro Football Focus gives Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman historical 2016 grade

Bears GM Ryan Pace struck gold with his signing of Jerrell Freeman last offseason.

Freeman, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Bears last March, was graded as the NFL's No. 1 inside linebacker in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.

Freeman's 93.8 overall grade was PFF's third-highest defensive grade behind Los Angeles Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald (95.6) and Oakland Raiders standout edge rusher Khalil Mack (93.9). 

Here's what PFF's Mike Renner had to say about Freeman's historic 2016 season:

One of the most impressive pure statistics any player amassed this season came from Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman. He made 40 tackles in coverage while missing only one tackle attempt. That ratio is insane, and it’s the best we’ve recorded since 2012. That’s about the only exciting stat, though, as the Bears’ front-seven desperately missed a fully-healthy Pernell McPhee for a good portion of the year.

Despite Freeman's outstanding season, he was left off of PFF's All-Pro Team for 2016. Although he was ranked ahead of Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (91.6) and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (92.9), PFF likely omitted Freeman due to him missing four games with a PED suspension.

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In his first season with the Bears, the 30-year-old Freeman led the team with 110 tackles (the next highest total was Harold Jones-Quartey's 78). Freeman also finished with a team-high 7 tackles for a loss. 

Check out a snapshot below of Freeman's PFF metrics from last season:

If there's any doubt about Freeman's play falling off after serving a suspension, he put that theory to rest. Freeman's second-best game grade came in Week 17 against the Minnesota Vikings (3.5). Freeman also had a positive grade (1.4) in his first game coming off the suspension against the Washington Redskins in Week 16.

"People know me," Freeman told the media after returning from suspension. "People know who I am. People know what I'm about. I wouldn't do that on purpose. I made a mistake and that's what it is. It's not like I was going out of my way to do something (illegal). But it happened. It's my fault and I take responsibility for it."