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Injured Bulls healing as regular season nears

Updated: October 20, 2013 7:25PM



The Bulls are getting healthier with the regular-season tipoff in Miami just more than a week away, but it’s a slow process.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said swingman Jimmy Butler (left knee) went through a full practice Sunday and was expected to return to the starting lineup Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks after missing the last two preseason games.

The news was also better for guard Kirk Hinrich, who left the Bulls’ preseason game Friday against the Indiana Pacers with a concussion.

‘‘He feels better, but there is a battery of tests that he has to go through, so it will probably be where we’ll see how he’s feeling [Monday],’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He says he feels a lot better. He’s got the league protocol that he has to go through.’’

Center Joakim Noah (strained groin) didn’t practice Sunday, and he was expected to miss the game against the Bucks, as well as the one Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The last preseason game is Friday against the Denver Nuggets, and Noah is iffy for that one.

‘‘Next man up,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘We’ve got more than enough, whoever is ready.’’

Thibodeau said it would be nice to get Derrick Rose and Butler some more playing time together.

‘‘It’s always important, but we have versatility,’’ Thibodeau said.

Second time around

Guard Marquis Teague has averaged 9.5 points in his last two games, and Thibodeau likes the way he is coming around.

‘‘He’s practicing a lot better than he did last year,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He just has to keep practicing hard each and every day.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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