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Omer Asik fills in nicely for injured Joakim Noah

Updated: June 8, 2012 8:16AM

PHILADELPHIA — With center Joakim Noah out with a twisted left ankle, backup Omer Asik was the next man up for
the Bulls.

Asik made only his third start of the season in the Bulls’ 89-82 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series and finished with one point, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 22 minutes, 30 seconds.

‘‘He played great,’’ forward Carlos Boozer said of Asik. ‘‘He stepped into a tough situation in a hostile environment and did well.’’

Noah was using crutches at the team hotel Saturday but was putting weight on the ankle while wearing a walking boot Sunday. Coach Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t say how long he expected Noah to be out. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Asik is expected to start in Game 5 on Tuesday at the United Center.

‘‘He was doing great,’’ forward Luol Deng said of Asik. ‘‘He was doing a lot of things out there you might not see.’’

Prayers for Paxson

Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson underwent a procedure to correct an arrhythmia problem and wasn’t at Game 4. He wanted to keep the procedure quiet, but 76ers coach Doug Collins mentioned it after the game.

‘‘I want to send out my prayers to John Paxson,’’ said Collins, a former Bulls coach. ‘‘He had a little bit of a heart surgery, and he’s not going to be able to be at Games 4 and 5. He’s like a son to me. . . . I just want to send out prayers to him.’’

Paxson later released the following statement: ‘‘I have an arrhythmia issue I’m trying to get corrected. It is something I’ve had before and planned this procedure over one month ago. There’s nothing more to it than that.’’

Deng dealing with it

Deng fell to the floor in the first quarter, aggravating the torn ligament in his left wrist he suffered early in the season. He stayed in the game and had 11 points and five rebounds despite favoring the wrist.

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