ATLANTA -- Now that Joakim Noah is out at least through the All-Star break, the Bulls officially began trying to make up for the loss of their starting center (and arguably their second most-important player) at this morning's shootaround at Philips Arena.
"He's been struggling with it for a while, since really the road trip," coach Vinny Del Negro said of Noah. "He hasn't been the same the last few games. We just felt with the All-Star break and things coming, it was best to get him some rest and treatment.
"But it's a big loss for us. Jo's had a tremendous year for us - he's second in the league in rebounding - so we're gonna have to gang rebound. Everybody's gonna have to chip in and step up a little bit. Tonight's a tough matchup for us [against the Atlanta Hawks], not only with their talent but their athleticism and size up front."
Brad Miller, who's playing with a sore left knee, will start in Noah's place. Despite Miller's health concerns, Del Negro said the veteran center won't have a minutes limit.
"We'll just see how he goes, how he's feeling," Del Negro said. "His knee's still a little bit swollen. Sometimes once he gets going it's better to let him play because once he sits down it stiffens up on him.
"We'll just monitor that, see how he feels, but we need him to step up and play well for us."
To shore up their frontcourt depth, the Bulls signed center/forward Chris Richard, who was with them in the preseason. Richard is expected to be in uniform tonight.