Noah and Gibson reappearing against Magic


Apr 15

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

The Bulls aren’t whole quite yet, but they are getting closer.

No, Derrick Rose wasn’t scheduled to play against the Orlando Magic Monday. And neither was Vladimir Radmanovic.

But Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were due to play as the Bulls were able to put out a rotation as complete as any time this season.

In the shadow of Disney World, the Bulls’ dreams also may be coming true with the return of two players whom they hope can give them a thrill ride through the NBA Playoffs.

“They’re feeling a lot better so we’ll see where they are,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about an hour before game time. “They’ve been off a long time so we’ll see. It won’t be extended minutes. We want to see where they are.

“We want to be at full strength,” said Thibodeau. “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. It’s a chance to move forward (with two regular season games remaining). 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.

“We’re going to make the best of whatever the circumstances are,” said Thibodeau. “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.”

Noah has missed 12 of the last 13 games with a recurrence of his plantar fasciitis. He played one game after missing eight, but it swelled again and then he missed the last four through Miami Sunday. But he was moving better the last few days and in pregame workouts and wanted to give it a try heading into the playoffs. Gibson has missed 17 of the last 24 games with a sprained MCL, which he sprained again after missing 10 games and playing seven. He said he’ll wear a protective brace to support the knee the rest of the time he plays this season.

Thibodeau, who coached in Boston, also was asked about the bombing tragedy in Boston at the Boston Marathon Monday.

“It’s just terrible,” Thibodeau said. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, the first responders, everybody there. It’s very, very sad.

“It’s huge (the Patriots Day celebration and race),” Thibodeau noted. “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.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below: