Deng another game-time decision

Deng another game-time decision
January 28, 2013, 6:21 pm
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Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doesnt have any plans to rush back Luol Deng from a nagging hamstring injury, even if it means the All-Star reserve misses his own bobblehead night.
I didnt realize that, Thibodeau said laughing when told of Dengs bobblehead. Yeah, thats why were bringing him back.
Thibodeau did, however, seem more optimistic about Dengs chances to play tonight at home against the Bobcats, calling him a true game-time decision. Deng, who was named an All-Star last Thursday, has missed the last five games and the Bulls have taken a cautious approach to his return.
Thibodeau said Deng participated a little bit more in this mornings team shoot-around that the Berto Center, and that hes gotten better every day since aggravating the injury Jan. 18 in Boston.
Swingman Jimmy Butler may have hinted at a potential return tonight for Deng.
I feel great. Glad to have Luol back. Were just gonna keep rolling, same role coming off the bench and just try to keep winning games, he said. I hope he does (play) because hes a big part of our team and we want him out there.
When Deng does make his eventual return to the lineup, Butler knows it will relegate him back to the bench. But the second-year forward said he will continue to have an effect on games, and that his recent stretch in the starting lineup has helped his confidence moving forward.
I feel like when an opportunity presents itself you have to take it, Butler said. (Starting) gave me a lot more confidence in knowing what I can do and having my teammates believe in me more on both ends of the floor. So I feel like it was a definite confidence boost.
Butler has put together the best stretch of his career in the last 10 days, averaging 14.2 points 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in more than 45 minutes the last five contests. The Bulls are 3-2 in that span, and Butlers emergence as a capable scorer and stout defender has helped the Bulls replace the league leader in minutes per game.
Like Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli before him Robinson has started five games in place of Kirk Hinrich; Belinelli started 12 games in Rip Hamiltons absence the Chicago reserves are proving to Thibodeau they can step up when their name is called.
We always do whats best for the team. You guys make it sound like its a new revelation. Jimmys played well and its what we expect of our bench, Thibodeau said, and when you look at it deeper, when Marco stepped in he did a great job. So we feel very good about our bench and when someone is out we expect that next person to step up.