Noah, Gibson back in action for Bulls

Noah, Gibson back in action for Bulls
April 15, 2013, 5:45 pm
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ORLANDO—With two regular-season games remaining, Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah and top reserve Taj Gibson will get a chance to regain their conditioning and timing before the playoffs begin.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau announced that the two ailing big men will return to the lineup in Monday night’s game against the Magic.

“They’re feeling a lot better so we’ll see where they are. They’ve been off a long time so we’ll see,” Thibodeau said during his pregame media availability. “It won’t be extended minutes. We want to see where they are.”

“We want to be at full strength. I think that’s important. It gives us a lot more balance offensively and defensively. It allows us to play inside out offensively and defensively, it adds a lot more size obviously, which we think is critical,” he continued. “It’s a chance to move forward. Again, we don’t know where they’re going to be. We have to wait and see. Both say they’re feeling a lot better. So that’s encouraging.”

Gibson has been out since re-aggravating a left-knee sprain in an April 2 road loss to Washington and will play with a heavy knee brace.

Noah returned to the lineup in a March 31 loss at Detroit from an eight-game layoff due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, only to also re-injure himself and miss the team’s last four games.

“It’s good [that Noah is returning to action],” Thibodeau said. “We’re going to make the best of whatever the circumstances are. We’ve played with a lot of different combinations throughout the course of the season. We feel we have more than enough and we have to be ready.”

Reserve forward Vladimir Radmanovic will miss the contest with a back injury, while Derrick Rose will also be sidelined.

For Orlando, veteran point guard Jameer Nelson won’t play.

Thibodeau, a New England native and former Celtics assistant coach, also expressed his condolences about the tragic Boston Marathon bombings that occurred earlier Monday afternoon on Patriot’s Day, a symbolic Boston holiday.

“It’s just terrible. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, the first responders, everybody there. It’s very, very sad,” he said. “It’s huge. There’s so much going on and the entire meaning of that day. It’s so festive. It’s unfathomable to think about something like that happening there. It’s a terrible day, terrible.