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Ailing Noah still not talking

Joakim Noah and the Bulls are still coming to terms with Luol Deng's absence. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Joakim Noah did not practice Thursday because he was under the weather, and no, his ailment isn’t a broken heart.

Noah is expected to be available for Friday’s game at Milwaukee, but affecting him more than his undisclosed illness could be his lingering feelings following the trade that sent Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers late Monday.

Noah and Deng are close, and after Tuesday’s victory over the Phoenix Suns, Noah went the unusual route (for him) of declining all interview requests. Again on Thursday he declined multiple interview requests.

“Jo’s an emotional guy,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He got himself ready to play (Tuesday). He’s playing at a high level. He played a great game. Now the challenge is to come back after you have a good game to play another good game. You can’t feel good about yourself. You have to be ready for the next one.”

As an emotional player, it remains to be seen how much the emotions of the Deng trade could alter his game.

“Jo has been around, he can handle things,” Thibodeau said. “Luol is not the first player that was ever traded from the Chicago Bulls. It’s the same thing when we get a new player, we always embrace whoever that new player is. That’s the way it is. We just focus on our team and improvement.”

Kirk Hinrich, who has been a teammate of Deng longer than anybody on the Bulls, continues to process his emotions as well.

“Shoot, I have played with Lu for (eight) years so we kind of grew up as players and young men together,” Hinrich said. “We miss him as a team and miss him as a person. He’s a great guy, but at the same time we’re trying not to dwell on it. We have a job to do, we’re trying to move forward and we’re trying to build some momentum here to dig our way out of the hole we have already dug for ourselves.”