DEERFIELD — Another day for the Bulls, another new injury to report and a recovering player’s progress to update.
All-Star center Joakim Noah missed Friday’s practice with a hip injury, according to Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Meanwhile, fellow All Star Luol Deng participated in the majority of the session, a positive since the small forward has missed the Bulls’ last four games with a reoccurrence of a left Achilles’ injury that previously cost him three games earlier in the month.
“Lu did most of the practice,” Thibodeau said. “Jo did not go today, and that was it. Everybody else went.”
Regarding Noah’s injury, Thibodeau downplayed its seriousness, portraying it as more of a break for the big man.
“Just had some tightness in his hip, so we’ll see where he is tomorrow,” the coach explained. “He’s not quite sure when he did it. Just felt some tightness, so it was an opportunity to give him another day of rest.”
As far as Deng, Thibodeau said it was a possibility that the team’s leading scorer suits up for the Bulls’ next game, Saturday night against Dallas at the United Center.
“He shot yesterday, he felt OK and he did about three-quarters of practice today,” Thibodeau said. “He said he felt decent, so we’ll see where he is tomorrow.”
The coach also said that starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler, who returned to the lineup in Wednesday’s Christmas Day win in Brooklyn after a one-game absence due to a right-ankle sprain — following missing nearly a month of action with a right turf-toe injury — was “good” in the aftermath of a hard fall and subsequent feeling that his left “knee gave out” after a hard foul by Nets power forward Reggie Evans, though Butler did return to the contest after riding a stationary bike in the Barclays Center tunnel.