Updated: June 7, 2012 8:29AM
PHILADELPHIA — Although coach Tom Thibodeau said X-rays were negative, Joakim Noah’s availability for Game 4 on Sunday against the 76ers is extremely doubtful.
“Most likely he’ll be out [Sunday],” Thibodeau said.
Noah rolled his ankle in the third quarter of Game 3 only to return briefly in the fourth quarter before being taken out. He was walking on crutches with his ankle tightly wrapped before and after a film session at the team hotel Saturday. Backup Omer Asik is expected to start. Forward Taj Gibson will back up Noah’s backup.
“Omer is better offensively than he’s given credit for because of his rebounding, his offensive rebounding, his screening, and he’s also a very underrated passer,” Thibodeau said. “He’s not accustomed to playing starters’ minutes. That will be a little bit of an adjustment. We have the ability to play Luol [Deng] at the four also.’’
C.J. Watson has been battling ankle and shoulder injuries all season and was ineffective in Game 3.
“We’ll see,” Thibodeau said when asked if Mike James might be needed Sunday, “but I’m confident C.J. will play good.’’
Ronnie Brewer played in all 66 regular-season games and appeared in the first two playoff games against the 76ers, but he didn’t leave the bench in Game 3 for reasons Thibodeau didn’t adequately explain.
“Rip [Hamilton] played more minutes, so that’s what we were going with,’’ Thibodeau said.