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Bulls’ Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler out for Bucks game

Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng (9) basketball actiagainst Philadelphi76ers Saturday Nov. 2 2013 Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

Chicago Bulls' Luol Deng (9) in basketball action against the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday Nov. 2, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

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Updated: December 10, 2013 1:48PM



Playing short-handed has been a way of life for the Bulls, and a way of life that isn’t ready to change just yet.

Following the Tuesday shootaround, coach Tom Thibodeau revealed that both Luol Deng {left Achilles] and Jimmy Butler [turf toe] would miss tonight’s game against Milwaukee.

It will be the 10th game Butler has missed, while Deng has now missed the last two.

“It’s still tight,’’ Thibodeau said of the Deng injury. “It’s better, both guys are a lot better, they’re close but not quite there yet.’’

Deng closer than Butler, and considering this starts a run of games in which the Bulls play four in five nights, “close’’ could still mean having to mix and match starting lineups and a bench rotation until further notice.

“Well, you’ve got to be the same every day,’’ Thibodeau said of a season in which there have been so many injuries, including losing Derrick Rose [right knee] for the year. “I think that’s important in this league. There’s times where you may have the schedule going in your favor, you may be completely healthy, and there’s times where the schedule is not going in your favor and you have injuries. The challenge is to figure out how you can win with the people you do have available. You don’t get here by accident. Everyone is capable, and if we play well we’ll have a good chance to win.’’

Without both Butler and Deng, the likely starting lineup would be Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and Kirk Hinrich.

When Deng returns, Gibson will go back to the bench to strengthen the second unit, but Thibodeau wasn’t saying what he would do with Butler yet – start him or bring him along slowly because of all the time he’s missed.

“We’ll see,’’ Thibodeau said. “I want to see where he is conditioning-wise. He’s moving a lot better, so that’s a good sign, but we’ll see how it unfolds. Whatever he can give us will be a big plus. He adds a lot to our team. It might not be his normal minutes initially, but he’ll get there.’’

Butler just wants to get back on the court no matter how many minutes he’s given.

“Terrible,’’ Butler said of the rehab process. “I hate sitting out, hate missing games. I always want to play, always want to be out there, going through everything with my guys, my teammates. But they’re just constantly telling me just take my time. Make sure I’m back at full strength, so you don’t re-aggravate it or make it worse.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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