Bulls vs. Bobcats: Luol Deng expected to return tonight

Jared Wickerham

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Thibs is providing his usual non-answer when it comes to injury, but Jimmy Butler may have spilled the beans:

Deng's replacement in the starting lineup sounds as if he knows he'll be back on the bench.

"Glad to have (Luol) back," Jimmy Butler said Monday after the team's morning shoot-around. "We're going to just keep going. Same role coming off the bench."

Butler was terrific in Deng's absence, averaging 14 points and nearly nine rebounds in five starts. It was his first extended stint in the starting lineup.

Butler is more than happy to take what he learned back to the bench with him.

"I feel like it gave me confidence in knowing what I can do," Butler said. "I feel like it was a definite confidence boost."

Deng has been out for 5 games after trying to come back from a hamstring pull in Boston and re-injuring himself. Hopefully Thibodeau will see that with Butler there's not a pressing need to overwork Luol.

And you'd hope especially tonight, with the Bobcats being the worst team in the league. The Bulls lost to them on New Years Eve (day) at home, and that can't happen again, can it? Especially since the Bulls are coming off a loss? Right?

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