Noah may not return until season opener
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The Bulls will probably finish the preseason without ever using their projected starting lineup.
Coach Tom Thibodeau announced Friday that center Joakim Noah will be shut down for a week to further rest a groin strain. Noah suffered the injury early in training camp, sat out the first three preseason games, then played 20 minutes against Detroit on Wednesday.
"It just flared up on me," Noah said before Friday's game against Indiana. "It just needs a little bit more time. I'm going to be out here. We're looking good. I've got to be healthy. It (stinks), especially this early in the season, but it is what it is. I just have to let it heal. I'll be back in no time."
The Bulls' final preseason game is next Friday against Denver, which means Noah's next appearance may not be until the regular-season opener at Miami on Oct. 29.
"We want it completely healthy where he's doesn't feel it, and right now he still feels it, so we got to take care of that," Thibodeau said. "He's close. We'll see where he is in a week."
Jimmy Butler, meanwhile, missed his second straight game with a left knee bruise. Derrick Rose also missed a start last week in Brazil.
Don't call them rivals:
There has been some discussion lately about whether Bulls-Pacers qualifies as a rivalry.
Usually, it takes some playoff meetings for that to happen. The last time these teams squared off in the playoffs, the Bulls were a No. 1 seed and Indiana No. 8 in 2011.
Derrick Rose said Friday it's not a rivalry now, but could be soon. Pacers coach Frank Vogel scoffed at the entire storyline.
"I don't pay attention to whether there's a rivalry or not," Vogel said. "We're out to beat everybody we play. Whether it's the Chicago Bulls or Utah Jazz or whoever, we're out to beat everybody we play. I don't think there's one team they want to beat more than anybody else."
Granger eases into action:
While the Bulls are welcoming Derrick Rose back to the lineup after a year off, Indiana is bringing back Danny Granger. The former all-star played in just five games last season with a knee injury.
Heading into Friday's action, Granger was averaging 8.3 points in preseason, but shooting just 27 percent from the field. He was 4 of 7 and scored 11 points against the Bulls.
"Each game he's looked a little better than the previous one," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Everybody have to understand, it's not like Danny Granger was playing basketball all summer. He really started playing just before camp."
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