UPDATE (5/6/12 10:57 a.m. CST):
No surprise: Joakim Noah officially out vs. Sixers. Omer Asik to start. #Bulls— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) May 6, 2012
It's about as official as it gets, as Tom Thibodeau referred to Noah after his gruesome ankle sprain as "most likely out". Omer Asik is a possible start, being the backup center and all, but with the Sixers not being as big themselves up front I'd think they could easily go with any combination of Boozer/Gibson/Deng at the 4-5, too.
Thibs non-answered several questions to his change in rotations in game three. CJ Watson is known to be "nicked up", and though he had an awful game Friday it was still likely a mistake to ride John Lucas III for the entire 4th quarter. Maybe there was a chance to catch one of his great stints at that opportune time. But when you're also playing your better weapons in Boozer, Hamilton, and Deng, I don't see the point in having Lucas dribble out most of the shot clock each possession.
Also different than in previous games was Rip Hamilton going for 42 minutes after he'd been in the 20-30 mpg range since coming back from his various injuries. Jimmy Butler received some time while Ronnie Brewer received a DNP. It looked like Thibs was going on tilt a bit in that game, and it may only get more different with Noah now out.
For the Sixers, one thing to watch is Andre Iguodala continuing to play through a sore achillies. Even hurt, he's made Deng look ordinary. As in, bringing back 'you know he's injured, right?" Deng stories after a couple good games brought out 'playing better with the injury' stories.
Early start, noon on ABC. Remember when the start times were seen as a nuisance before the whole team got injured?