Nocioni Returns To The Court
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 9, 2007 1:31PM
Injured prior to the All Star Break, Bulls forward Andres Nocioni finally returned to the court this weekend, scoring three points in 10 minutes against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
He tested his injured foot once prior in a game, playing 15 minutes on February 22, but hadn't seen action since, as his planter fasciitis continued to cause him significant pain. Noc professed to be pain free following Sunday's game.
Nocioni's return could be critical for the Bulls' chances in the playoffs. At 46-32, the Bulls are tied with Cleveland for the second best record in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls hold the tie breaker advantage on account of their better conference record and are in line for the second seed.
The past two seasons, the Bulls have qualified for the playoffs only to get knocked out in the first round. Advancing to the second round would be an important step towards finally becoming a legitimate condender for the first time since the Jordan era. Having played well in Nocioni's absence, will he help them reach that next level? Or will trying to re-integrate a key component into Skiles' rotation screw with the team chemistry at a critical time in the season?
Image via AP PHOTO/CP, Aaron Harris