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Kirk Hinrich (back) out, Luol Deng back in vs. Raptors

D.J. Augustwas waived by Raptors because they had glut point guards. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

D.J. Augustin was waived by the Raptors because they had a glut of point guards. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

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Updated: January 16, 2014 7:06AM



It’s never a good thing when the training room is more crowded than the paint.

But this is the Bulls’ reality.

Things seemed to be improving, however, with Jimmy Butler back from turf toe Friday and Luol Deng (left Achilles tendon) returning Saturday against the Raptors.

But Kirk Hinrich showed up at the United Center with a stiff back hours before the game, and the Bulls were down to their third point guard — second-year player Marquis Teague — in the starting lineup.

“Next guy get in there, get the job done,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said in typical fashion.

The bottom line is, the Bulls are hampered by health woes more so than anything the Heat or Pacers can throw at them.

Of the five starters on opening night, only Carlos Boozer has played in every game. Deng, Butler, Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose have combined to miss 28 games, and Rose (right knee surgery) is done for the season.

If there’s one positive to come out of the rash of injuries, it’s validation for Thibodeau. The knock on Thibodeau had been that he plays his players too many minutes, which leads to injury.

That had not been the case this season, and players still went down. Thibodeau wasn’t buying into it either way.

“You guys worry about that; I don’t,’’ Thibodeau said. “Hey, when you look at it, there are guys that get hurt playing 20 minutes, guys that get hurt playing 30 minutes.

‘‘When you look at managing the minutes, sometimes when you have older players, you look into it more. I think we’ve done a good job with that.

“You have guys in their mid-30s, that’s what you do. Guys that are younger, they play more. If you’re a starter, you’re expected to play 32-36 minutes.’’

Glut led to cut

D.J. Augustin , who made his Bulls debut Friday, was signed as a free agent by the Raptors in the offseason, and coach Dwane Casey explained why he was waived.

“Well, one thing we had, we had a glut of point guards,’’ Casey said. “We had a couple of young kids giving us something that D.J. didn’t have.

“D.J. gave us outstanding shooting. He’s a great kid, great shooter. But we needed other things from that position.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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