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Bulls’ injury situation improving

Updated: January 26, 2014 6:27AM



The Bulls won’t exactly be at full strength when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, but there’s no doubt they’re moving in the right direction.

Guard Kirk Hinrich (back) and swingman Jimmy Butler (right ankle) practiced Tuesday and, barring a setback, are expected to return to the starting lineup. Forward Luol Deng (Achilles tendon) did some work on a bike and some shooting, but his return didn’t look promising.

What will be interesting is having Hinrich and recently acquired guard D.J. Augustin on the court at the same time, which is in coach Tom Thibodeau’s plans.

‘‘Kirk has done a good job for us since he’s been here, other than the injury part of it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘D.J. has been a very good player in this league prior to getting here. . . . He wasn’t in the rotation this year in Toronto and got short minutes last year in Indiana, but he started for a couple of years in this league. You can’t do that without being talented. I think he’s a good fit for us. He can shoot, run the pick-and-roll. He’s smart. so he fits.

‘‘I think they can play well together. That was one of the things about bringing Kirk back. His versatility, the ability to play [shooting guard], start or come off the bench at [either guard spot], you can play him with anybody. Having a second guy who can break the defense down off the dribble is a big plus. Every year, Kirk will end up around 38 or 39 percent from three[-point range]. I think shooting is important to open up the floor for our big guys.’’



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