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Thibodeau coaches after dad’s funeral



The facts: 7 p.m., CSN, 1000-AM.

Updated: December 31, 2013 7:49PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Coach Tom Thibodeau attended the funeral of his father, Thomas J. Thibodeau Sr., on Monday morning in New Britain, Conn., then made a flight in time for the game against the Grizzlies.

When asked about that decision, Thibodeau was straightforward.

‘‘No, not really,’’ Thibodeau said when asked if it was a difficult decision to make. “I think it’s something my father would’ve wanted. And our family, pretty much once I saw that they were good, I felt good about it.’’

His dad died on Christmas Day at 83, and Thibodeau left the team Sunday for the visitation.

The players were kept up to date on what was going on, but knowing Thibodeau like they do, they didn’t need him to address the matter.

“I guess he kind of kept it to himself, but he’s still a competitor and wants to win, all that good stuff,’’ guard Jimmy Butler said. ‘‘But we know what he’s feeling, so we’ll be there for him.’’

The Bulls canceled their Sunday practice, and assistant coach Adrian Griffin ran the morning shootaround.

Injury front

Still hampered by a sore left Achilles tendon, forward Luol Deng missed his fifth consecutive game and ninth overall.

Butler said the turf toe that has hampered his game the last few weeks likely will be a seasonlong battle.

“We’re trying a lot of different things, but the main focus is just trying to have me ready for these games, and I feel like that’s working so far,’’ Butler said.

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