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posted: 3/23/2013 10:07 PM

Noah's plantar fasciitis flares up again

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The injury bug keeps on biting the Bulls. Just when they got Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson back from injuries, center Joakim Noah was scratched from Saturday's game against Indiana due to plantar fasciitis.

This is the recurrence of a longtime foot problem for Noah. He missed three games in early February with the same problem.

Noah hasn't shown many signs lately of his feet bothering him. Over the previous 10 games, Noah averaged 14.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks.

"He's had an all-star season," coach Tom Thibodeau said before the contest. "He's done a great job for us, but we have more than enough -- next man up, get out there and get the job done."

Thibodeau wasn't sure if Noah would travel with the team for Sunday's game at Minnesota. It seems likely Noah won't play at all this weekend.

With Noah sidelined, veteran Nazr Mohammed received his second start of the season.

Bulls' best is elusive:

Indiana came into this game with a chance to post a 4-0 season sweep of the Bulls for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

Needless to say, Derrick Rose didn't play in any of those games, but the Bulls have been even more short-handed every time against the Pacers.

Their healthiest lineup came in the first meeting, when Richard Hamilton was out. In Game 2, it was Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich out. In Game 3, the Bulls were missing Hinrich, Hamilton and Taj Gibson.

I-65 rivalry grows slowly:

Before the game, Indiana coach Frank Vogel talked about whether or not Bulls-Pacers is a full-fledged rivalry yet.

They've been the two best teams in the Central Division since LeBron James left Cleveland and they had a fiery first-round playoff series in 2011.

"I think we probably have to win the division this year (for a rivalry to officially begin)," Vogel said. "They won last year, we could win this year. We met in the playoffs a couple years ago and it was a good series. Maybe we'll meet again.

"I think it's very healthy for the league. Growing up as a fan, you embrace those rivalries. I grew up a Sixers fan. So Sixers-Celtics, Sixers-Lakers. Even today when those teams play each other, you think back to those games. I think it's very healthy for the league."

Bull horns:

Marco Belinelli and Paul George received double technicals in the second quarter Saturday. After fouling Indiana's Lance Stephenson on a fast break, Belinelli appeared to say something to Stephenson and George shoved him aside. ... For Indiana, power forward David West missed his fourth game with back spasms. Forward Danny Granger, who has played in just five games all season with a knee issue, also sat out.

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