Noah joins Rose as Bulls' walking wounded

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Noah joins Rose as Bulls' walking wounded

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
11:22 AM
By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

TORONTOHeading into Wednesdays game against the Raptors, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was still unsure if he would play, as he recovers from injuries suffered in Mondays win over Indiana.

Ill have to see. Later on tonight, Ill make the decision. But if not, I have confidence in my team where I think we can still win this game, Rose told CSNChicago.com before the teams morning shootaround at the Air Canada Centre. Im still sore. My hip and my elbow are very sore right now, but thats basketball. Youre not always going to feel good, but youve still got to go ahead and do your job.

My wrist is fine, my ankle. Its just my elbow and my hip that are really bruised.

Rose, ever the competitor, would be chagrined at having to miss the contest, especially since the Bulls are in the midst of a six-game winning streak.

It would be tough, man, said the All-Star. Knowing that were on a roll right now and for me to sit out now because of a stupid injury, it hurts.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau gave his standard response about Roses situation prior to the shootaround.

Well see this morning after he goes through the shootaround if hes fine. He said he was feeling better, but we want to make sure he goes through the shootaround, said Thibodeau. If he doesnt have any problems, yes. He said yesterday he was feeling better and I talked to him last night again and he said he was feeling better then, so if everythings good, hell go.

Rose told CSNChicago.com that the notion that he should start playing with more caution bothers him a little bit.

In basketball, its going to be aggressive sometimes, Rose explained. Theres going to be times where you take hard fouls or youre going to fall hard, but youve just got to play through it.

If he doesnt suit up, Rose is confident that backup point guard C.J. Watsonwho scored 33 points in a last-second November loss at Denver in Roses absencewill fill in admirably.

Hes an aggressive point guard that can score the ball and run the team, so I have a lot of confidence in him. I remember I hated playing against him when he was in Golden State because he was always able to attack, so thats all I tell him, Rose told CSNChicago.com. Just play his regular game and everything will come to him.

Rose isnt the only Bulls player dealing with complications from an injury. Center Joakim Noah is dealing with soreness in his right hand.

Were going to diagnose it tonight, said Noah, who indicated that he would attempt to play through what was described as bruised tendons by a team source to the Chicago Tribunes K.C. Johnson, who first reported the story.

His hand is nicked up. Hell go through shootaround and if hes fine after going through shootaround, he plays, explained Thibodeau, who said any decision on whether Noah plays Wednesday will be made by the teams training and medical staffs, as well as Noah himself. I dont know specifically what it is. Two knuckles, his thumb. Those are the two areas where hes experiencing some soreness.

Basically, all the big guys in the league go through this. Their hands are constantly being raked. Its hard to recover from it because it continues to happen when youre rebounding the ball or going up for shots and they continue to strip. His shooting hand is nicked up.

Despite the maladies of two key Bulls, the teams mentality of the entire roster being able to fill in for a sidelined teammate will possibly be tested, as Rose and Noah are perhaps the most indispensable members of the team. Not that Thibodeau sees a major issue if they sit out, current winning streak or not.

Theyre going to go through shootaround. If they go through shootaround and there arent any problems, they play. If they go through shootaround and there are problems, they sit, Thibodeau explained. Thats the way it is and if thats the case, the next guy steps up and he does the job.

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.

Bulls supportive of Robin Lopez after one-game suspension following Serge Ibaka scrap

Bulls supportive of Robin Lopez after one-game suspension following Serge Ibaka scrap

Although the punches didn't connect, the NBA was not going to take the Robin Lopez-Serge Ibaka confrontation lightly, suspending each one game Wednesday afternoon.

Lopez served his time in the Bulls' surprising 117-95 win over the Detroit Pistons at the United Center. Per league rules, Lopez was not allowed on team property but he did speak to head coach Fred Hoiberg when the team returned from Toronto after the Bulls' heartbreaking overtime loss Tuesday.

Lopez will return to the Bulls lineup Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers, a relief to the Bulls considering the league could've taken a harsher stance with Lopez — a two- or three-game suspension was being mulled at the league office, sources tell CSNChicago.com

Lopez was pushed into Ibaka after Jimmy Butler hit a three in the second half, and the two combatants squared off underneath the rim, with officials, teammates and coaches trying to separate them.

Ibaka appeared to have his arm reaching at Lopez's neck, prompting Lopez to swing at Ibaka. He missed, and Ibaka grazed Lopez's face with a wild swing of his own.

Both were ejected after being separated and shortly thereafter, the Raptors begun their run from being down 15 points to end the Bulls' recent mastery over them.

Despite the effect, Lopez had the full support of his teammates and coaching staff.

"I think you ask anybody in that locker room, Robin Lopez is one of the most if not the most popular guy on this team," Hoiberg said. "He's a guy that goes out and approaches his job the same way every day. He goes to work. He never complains. He does what's asked of him. Also if you asked them, they'd tell you he's as passionate of a guy as we have on this team as well. He's got a fire to him that you just don't ever want to take away."

That fire clearly got underneath Lopez and Ibaka, causing Lopez to lunge at Ibaka. Telling from the immediate reaction from the Bulls players and from Hoiberg and associate coach Jim Boylen, it seems as if it wasn't the first time Lopez's engine ran a little hot.

"This game gets very competitive obviously, it gets heated at times," Hoiberg said. "That happened last night. It's unfortunate what went down, but we've all got Robin's back. I think everybody in this organization, from the players all the way to up top, has Robin's back. We'll deal with it and move on. We'll be happy to have him in the lineup Friday."

Lopez averages 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game, slightly higher than his career averages through his nine NBA seasons.

Considering the play seemed relatively tame, it was slightly puzzling to see both players go at each other so ferociously but there appeared to be more to the story than first blush.

"There's always more going on than it appears," Hoiberg said. "You go back and watch on film, there's little jabs that happen in the course of the game and sometimes it reaches the boiling point. Robin is a guy that plays this game with a lot of passion, and you don't ever want to see something like that happen, but it did. And again, you move on."

Normally, Lopez attacks mascots during timeouts or pregame warm-ups, so nobody felt Lopez was looking for an altercation, and considering it only cost him a game — one the Bulls won anyways — Hoiberg didn't seem too stressed about it beforehand.

"Yeah, you know, Robin's going to have our guys' backs as much as anybody in the locker room," Hoiberg said. "Again, you look in that locker room, all those guys are going to have each other's back, Robin as much as anybody. Unfortunately, it happened. It looked like it was a little hip check, they turned around and got squared off, and we all know what happened. Again, we'll all be excited to have Robin back in the lineup on Friday."

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