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Noah bigger, stronger after hitting the weights
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/29/2009 12:00 AM | Updated: 10/30/2009 6:14 AM

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At the end of Wednesday's practice, several Bulls stuck around to hoist extra shots. Most of them wore a T-shirt or even long sleeves beneath their practice jerseys.

Center Joakim Noah, in contrast, kept his arms bare. Maybe that was intentional, better to show off his vastly improved physique.

There's no way to miss it. Two years ago, Noah was a scrawny rookie with little hope of holding his ground against NBA centers. Now he actually has bulging biceps, along with a few veins popping.

"I felt like in that (playoff) series against Boston, that's one thing I needed to do better," said Noah, who estimated he added 10 pounds over the summer. "I felt like I was getting pushed around a little bit too much. It was important for me to lift a lot of weights. I feel stronger. I feel like I put on good weight, because I'm still running the floor well."

Noah will have his work cut out this week, since he figures to guard San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Boston's Kevin Garnett the first two nights.

Rose feeling good: Asked to assess his injury status heading into the Bulls' season opener, Derrick Rose gave a promising answer.

"High 80s," he said, referring to his percentage of complete health. "Hopefully by the end of the month, I should be back to my regular self. I'm still not explosive like that. It's coming along, but it's going to take awhile."

Another question following Wednesday's practice was whether Rose has any statistical goals in mind for his second NBA season.

"I haven't really thought about numbers," he said. "If anything, I want my assists to go up. There are a lot of good scorers on this team."

Rose also made it clear that he feels optimistic about his team.

"Everybody's liking each other," he said. "We rarely argue and if we do argue, we make sure we deal with it right then and there so we don't make it grow bigger. That's one thing - we've got a lot of good guys on the team. We don't have any attitude problems.

"We're looking good right now, so people better watch out."

Bull horns: It was nice while it lasted, but the Bulls released swingman Derrick Byars on Wednesday. By keeping him around this week, Byars will get three days' pay from the Bulls. Even at a rookie minimum salary, that's a nice bonus. - Tonight's radio broadcast will be on WLS 890-AM because of a World Series conflict on WMVP. - A reminder to fans: Bulls home games will start a half-hour earlier at 7 p.m. this season.