Noah practices, still mourning mentor's loss

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was back at practice Saturday after being excused from Friday's practice for bereavement. Noah flew to New York to mourn the passing of his mentor, Tyrone Green.

Noah did not speak to reporters after Saturday's practice, but he did release a statement through the Bulls regarding Green's passing.

"I am saddened by the passing of Mr. Green, who was like a second father to me," Noah said in the statement. "I will do my best to respect his life and his family in this time of grief and ask that everyone please do the same. I will miss him very much."

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is confident that Noah will be ready to play Sunday night during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Washington Wizards.

"It’s a tough situation," Thibodeau said. "Everyone grieves differently. I thought he was very sharp in practice today. Hopefully he’ll be fine tomorrow."