Joakim Noah out 3rd straight game

Updated: April 2, 2011, 7:59 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah missed his third consecutive game when the Bulls took on the Raptors on Saturday night.

He suffered the ankle injury Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Bulls came into the game 2-0 in Noah's absence. Kurt Thomas started in his place.

The Eastern Conference-leading Bulls are taking a cautious approach with Noah, averaging 12.1 points and 11 rebounds. Their next game is Tuesday night against Phoenix.

Coach Tom Thibodeau says Noah is "almost there."

Meanwhile, All-Star guard Derrick Rose says he was feeling fine after hurting his left ankle in the second half Friday night in a win at Detroit.

The Raptors also were short-handed, with leading scorer Andrea Bargnani missing the game because of a sore right ankle and guard Jose Calderon staying home with a sore left hamstring. Rookie Ed Davis started for Bargnani, who's averaging 21.8 points, with Jerryd Bayless filling in for Calderon.

Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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