May 8, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT
DEERFIELD, Ill. — Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah shot free throws without a brace on his sprained left ankle at shootaround and is a game-time decision for Game 5 Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Omer Asik will start regardless of whether Noah, who was still walking with a limp, plays. The Bulls are down 3-1 in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the eighth-seed 76ers and could be eliminated Tuesday night.
“We’ll see, maybe it gets better from now until tonight,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
After Derrick Rose tore his ACL with just over a minute to play in Game 1 of the Chicago-Philadelphia series, the Bulls have lost three straight games to put them on the brink of elimination, and Noah’s injury has made things that much more dire for the Eastern Conference’s #1 seed.
Asik averaged 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game in 14.7 minutes per game for the Chicago this season. We’ll see if the Bulls can fight back with no Rose and a very limited Noah to save their season and make it to a Game 6 in the first round.
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