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Joakim Noah ankle injury: Fracture feared, return to series seems doubtful

"you're walking, right? I don't see a problem here. Go get 'em!"(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
"you're walking, right? I don't see a problem here. Go get 'em!"(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Joakim Noah severely injured his ankle in the Bulls Game Three loss on Friday. If you want to see the gory action repeated endlessly, click this link. Sheesh.

KC Johnson has whispers from the team that has it sounding like a series-ender:

Noah is in bad shape. Initial X-rays were negative, however the team hasn't ruled out a fracture, two sources said.

Noah left the arena in an air cast.

Then there's this:

Hobbling badly, he purposely fouled Evan Turner at the 6:46 mark so he could exit straight to the locker room.

But Noah inexplicably returned early in the fourth, even though he barely could run.

"He wanted to give it a shot," Thibodeau said. "You could see he couldn't move. First, he has to be cleared by (athletic trainer Fred Tedeschi). He felt like he could go. Once we saw he was having a hard time moving, that was it."

There were actually two times to keep Noah off the floor, another being after he shot the freethrows when he was initially hurt. He looked to have possibly tweaked it again on the following possession. Between his reasoning for Noah's return even later, and yet another 'more than enough to win with' mantra, Thibs sounded more delusional than fixated-savant after a loss this bad. It's not fatalistic to figure the Bulls are really screwed if Noah's gone.

[Note by your friendly BullsBlogger, 05/05/12 10:47 AM CDT] Here's Kelly Dwyer on Thibs:

Whatever the diagnosis (Noah left the stadium on crutches, wearing an air cast to support the ankle and lower leg), Thibodeau deserves criticism. Playing Derrick Rose while the team was up 12 with 90 seconds left in the contest during last week's Game 1 was passable, but this marks the second time in two postseasons that Thibodeau has re-entered a player that clearly should not have been on the court following an injury — as was the case for Omer Asik's broken femur last spring. Why Noah also entered during what was a productive run from Asik and Taj Gibson (whose absence down the stretch was either a poor coaching move or a response to Gibson's own fourth-quarter injury) boggles as well.

I've defended Thibodeau quite a bit in these pages, and a loss in this series would not be the fault of a Bulls coaching staff working with a Rose-less team, but he needed to say "no."