The Bulls had a feeling Derrick Rose (toe sprain), Taj Gibson (high ankle sprain) and John Lucas III (groin strain) would be out of action Saturday.
But Joakim Noah's absence was such a surprise, his name was announced during pregame introductions. The mistake didn't spoil Omer Asik's first career start. The 7-foot center grabbed 15 rebounds while playing a career-high 39 minutes against the Bobcats.
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Noah turned his ankle during Friday's win at Cleveland when he landed on an opponent's foot. But he stayed in the game and appeared to be a go for this one.
"I tried," he said. "It got bad this morning, just real achy. I had no push or nothing. I think I'll be back soon."
Noah confirmed that he was hoping to play until just before tipoff. More likely, just before introductions, since Asik did run onto the floor when Noah's name was called.
"Thibs (coach Tom Thibodeau) was just like, 'Try everything.' I went in and got treatment early this morning, came for shootaround early, did all the treatment," Noah said. "Tried to get through the layup line and all that. I just had no push. It will come back quick."
James settles in:
Before Saturday's game against Charlotte, guard Mike James talked about how much it's helped him to play for coach Tom Thibodeau before, even though it was when Thibodeau assisted Jeff Van Gundy in Houston.
"There are definitely a lot of similarities," said James, who signed with the Bulls on Jan. 11. "The biggest thing was understanding the terminology. I haven't heard that terminology in some years.
"I've been here long enough. Coach has given me enough plays where I understand. I don't understand all the calls, but I know enough to be able to run the team and just keep everything afloat."
Injuries piling up:
Tom Thibodeaum on whether the lockout-altered, 66-game season helps explain the rash of injuries, both around the league and with the Bulls:
"You shortened camp," he said. "Usually you have a month of training camp and usually, most of the guys are back in the gym after Labor Day, so you missed quite a bit of time there. Injuries are part of the game. You deal with them. There's a reason you carry 13 or 14 players."
The Bulls are 7-0 at home for the first time since the 1996-97 season. … Friday's 114-75 win at Cleveland was the worst home loss in Cavaliers history. … The Bulls had six different players record at least 2 blocks (Omer Asik, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler) against Cleveland. The last time that happened was March 27, 1984 against Detroit, when the shot-blockers were Dave Corzine, David Greenwood, Rod Higgins, Jawann Oldham, Orlando Woolridge and Steve Johnson.