When Joakim Noah went out with thumb ligament surgery more than two months ago, Bulls fans worried that the team might be hurting without him.
They haven't missed a beat, really -- Kurt Thomas has done an outstanding job in Noah's absence and the Bulls have gone 22-7 since that Dec. 15 game, coincidentally also in Toronto vs. the Raptors.
But the Bulls do miss Noah's enthusiasm and energy, not to mention his rebounding skill. That will be something that, at last, Tom Thibodeau can put together so his team looks the way it was supposed to look when training camp began. The three top players on the team -- Noah, Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer -- have played in the same game only nine times this year, and the Bulls were 7-2 in those games.
This is a perfect time for his return, as the Bulls are only two games off the pace for the top seed in the East and face the Heat at home tomorrow. Here's hoping they don't look past tonight's game, where they will also face former teammate James Johnson, who was traded to the Raptors yesterday for a draft pick.Tonight's game begins at 6 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.