2012 NBA Playoffs: Bulls Lose Noah, Game 3 in Philadelphia

Adam Cipinko@@ASamuel5 Contributor IIMay 4, 2012

Joakim Noah sprains his ankle during the Bulls' Game 3 loss to Philadelphia ( Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 4, 2012 )
Joakim Noah sprains his ankle during the Bulls' Game 3 loss to Philadelphia ( Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / May 4, 2012 )

Joakim Noah sprained his ankle during the Chicago Bulls' 79-74 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

At 7:57 in the third quarter, with the Bulls up 45-42 over the 76ers, Noah led a fast break after rebounding a missed Philadelphia shot. 

With a three-on-two break going Chicago's way, Noah twisted his left ankle in an almost 90-degree angle, drawing a foul from Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala and immediately falling to the floor, grabbing his left ankle.

An injury timeout was called as teammates ran across the floor to check on Noah's condition. 

As Noah was on the floor, a strong chorus of cheers came from the Philadelphia crowd.

When Noah eventually got up about one minute after he fell, some fans booed the Chicago center as he walked back to the bench. Others stood and cheered for the injured Noah.

Noah sat on the bench for about a minute, then was able to take two foul shots before returning to the game. 

After barely a minute, Noah began to limp across the floor. After an empty offensive possession for the Bulls, he was eventually forced to foul Evan Turner of the 76ers with 6:46 left in the third quarter. Noah was immediately substituted out for Omer Asik, and limped to the Bulls locker room.

After about five minutes, Noah returned to the Chicago bench, where he remained for the remainder of the third quarter.

Following a Chicago shooting foul on Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday with 10:05 left in the fourth quarter, Joakim Noah entered the game with a heavy wrap of black tape around his left ankle. 

On the following Bulls possession, Noah hit an open jump shot at the 9:35 mark in the fourth quarter. 

Noah remained in the game for two minutes before nearly re-injuring his ankle following a Thaddeus Gibson drive to the basket.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called timeout, pulled Noah out of the game and sent him back to the locker room for further medical examination. 

Noah never returned to the game, as Chicago would eventually blow a 14-point lead to the 76ers. 

Following the game, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that Noah left the arena wearing an air cast while "hobbling on crutches." 

Johnson further reported on his Twitter page that the "Bulls haven't ruled out a fracture."

Johnson said that Tom Thibodeau offered no immediate update on whether Noah will be able to return for Sunday's Game 4.