Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich practice for the second straight day without restriction and Butler told reporters that he’s ready to join Hinrich in returning to the lineup for the Bulls when they take on the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day.
Butler missed one game after spraining his right ankle in the second quarter of last Thursday’s loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I think I’m well to go out there and compete,” Butler told reporters after Tuesday’s practice.
Hinrich missed the past five games with back spasms. Thibodeau wouldn’t reveal who would start against Brooklyn, but it’s safe to assume that Hinrich and Butler will return to their starting roles with D.J. Augustin and Tony Snell returning to reserve roles.
For the second straight day, Luol Deng didn’t practice, making it unlikely that he will play in the Christmas matinee. He was aiming to return from a re-aggravation of his left Achilles injury either against the Nets or in Saturday’s home game vs. the Dallas Mavericks.
The Nets have also gotten off to a slow start in large part due to injuries. They lost center Brook Lopez for the season after the All-Star big man broke his right foot.