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Noah set to play as Deng likely out vs. Mavericks

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Joakim Noah told reporters he will take the floor on Saturday night when the Bulls take on the Dallas Mavericks.

The All-Star big man sat out Friday’s afternoon practice after experiencing tightness in his hip after doing some individual shooting on Thursday.

Luol Deng also told reporters that he’s “most likely out” for the fourth straight game as he continues to rest his sore left Achilles.

Deng also elaborated on his and the organization decision on being conservative with nagging injuries instead of pushing through them with the hopes of being healthy towards the end of the season.

“Last time we gave it a rest and jumped right back in and ended up sitting out again,” Deng told reporters on his left Achilles, which he originally injured in the Bulls Nov. 27, win in Detroit. “That’s what we’re really trying to avoid. Could I play? Yes. But what we’re worried about is the fact I practiced (Friday) and it was really sore (Saturday). We want to avoid coming back and sitting out more games. It’s one practice so far. Hopefully give it another practice, maybe two and get going.

The All-Star small forward had told reporters that he was targeting the team’s Christmas matinee in Brooklyn or tonight’s game vs. Dallas as targets for his return. But with only going through most of Friday’s practice and experiencing soreness, Deng is being smart this time with the injury that cost him four games before he returned to play three before having to sit again.

“I think we learned from the past. I think the players too,” Deng said. “We talk to each other. In the past, I would’ve been out there playing and then missing another month or so and I really don’t want to do that. And the other thing is I don’t want to keep coming in and out (of the lineup). I think that’s the last thing we need. We’re trying to get going. We’ve won two in a row, guys are playing well. We’re getting guys back and I don’t want to come in and out again. But definitely, I think we’re being smarter this year (with injuries).”

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