--Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer returned to practice on a limited basis on Sunday, while Derrick Rose was excused for personal reasons.
Boozer is expected to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night despite injuring his toe in the Bulls' game against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
Forward Taj Gibson would get increased action if Boozer can't play, but Gibson doesn't expect that to occur. "Knowing Carlos, I think he's going to play," Gibson said.
--When the first-round series against Indiana officially ended, most of the Pacers walked toward the Bulls bench to offer hugs and congratulations. Indiana forward Danny Granger, on the other hand, still had a bone to pick with Bulls center Joakim Noah.
"Joakim Noah, he's a dirty player," Granger said after the game. "He elbowed two of my power forwards. One got kicked out. The other got a tech and nothing's called on him."
He was referring to Indiana's Josh McRoberts getting ejected late in the third quarter for shoving Noah like a blocking sled a couple of times. Noah also got mixed up with forward Tyler Hansbrough in the fourth quarter, with Pacers guard A.J. Price getting the technical for complaining about it.
"I play dirty?" Noah said. "OK. I'm just trying to win basketball games, man. It's the name of the game. I'm just out there just trying to do what I've got to do. I give a lot of credit to their team. They played hard as (heck). They were very competitive. I've got nothing bad to say about those guys."
--Boozer picked up two early fouls in Game 5 for the third straight game. He ended up playing just 16 minutes total, finishing with two points and five rebounds. Overall in the Pacers series, he rebounded well (10.2 per game), but averaged just 10 points.
"We have to figure out a way to keep him out of foul trouble," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It is hard to get into a rhythm when you are picking up quick fouls. We are taking a good look at it to see if we can help him out so he can help us out.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Speechless right now. I really can't believe it. It's a great accomplishment. I'm happy for my teammates, happy for the coaching staff." -- Guard Derrick Rose, on achieving the first playoff-series victory of his NBA career.
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