Thibodeau quiet on Hinrich injury, listed day-to-day

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Thibodeau quiet on Hinrich injury, listed day-to-day

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said point guard Kirk Hinrich is day-to-day with a groin injury he suffered in last night's win over the Thunder, and is a game-time decision for Fridays preseason finale against the Pacers.

Thibodeau would not reveal much on Hinrichs injury, but did note that the point guard did not have an MRI. The team watched film and shot this afternoon at the Berto Center, so there was not an opportunity for the veteran to test it out.

He should be OK. He just tweaked it so well see, Thibodeau said. He said he felt better, so well see.

Hinrich played 15 minutes before injuring himself in the second quarter of the Bulls 94-89 win, scoring eight points and handed out two assists. In five preseason games, Hinrich has averaged 9.4 points and a team-high 5.6 assists per game.

The Bulls open up their regular season at home against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 31, but Thibodeau said he has not thought that far in advance regarding Hinrichs availability.

Hes better today than he was yesterday, and well see where he is tomorrow, Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau also said he does not believe the team will need to look outside for additional point guard depth, despite the roster being thin following Derrick Roses and Hinrichs injuries.

Im not concerned about that at all, Thibodeau said. Were confident in the guys that we have. The responsibility of management is to awlasy look at how you can improve the team. So theyre constantly doing that, but I like the group that we have here.

Richard Hamilton, who missed time last year with a groin injury, said he was happy Hinrich and the Bulls shut him down in the second half rather than pushing it.

Its tough. A groin can linger. You just want to jump on it as quick as possible. And the one thing that was good with him was he didnt come back and play the second half, Hamilton said. Sometimes your adrenaline will allow you to say, No, I dont want to sit out. Ill figure it out at the end of the game. And thats what most players do and I think (the staff) did a great job of really jumping on it early and saying, Alright, you know what? Shut him down.

Back-up Nate Robinson filled in for Hinrich Tuesday night, playing most of the second half to finish with eight points, four rebounds and four assists. Robinson also filled in for Hinrich last week while Hinrich was held out with a right thumb injury. Robinson scored 23 points and handed out 14 assists as a starter in a home win over the Bucks.

Marquis Teague, who would see additional run if Hinrich is forced to miss time, missed his only shot attempt and grabbed a rebound in four minutes.

Prior to Tuesday nights game in which Hinrich suffered the injury, Thibodeau applauded Hinrichs work ethic this offseason to put in a full work of daily preparation to get his body ready for the season. Hinrich missed 18 games with the Hawks last season, and missed the Hawks playoff run in 2010-11.

Hes been fine thus far. Hes put a lot of work into improving his body, getting healthy, Thibodeau said before last nights game, and hopefully hell remain healthy all season.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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