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Deng set to return against the Raptors

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After a five-game absence because of a lingering sore left Achilles , Luol Deng will return to the lineup when the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he would have to see how the All-Star small forward looked once he got back in action to determine whether the need to put a restriction on Deng’s minutes. Deng is currently averaging 38.4 minutes this season.

This will give Thibodeau the full lineup of Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah for the first time since a Nov. 15 road victory in Toronto.

“I think it’s big. You’re getting back to being at full strength,” Thibodeau said. “You have Jo, who is in rhythm now. Carlos and Taj (Gibson) have done a very good job all season. Jimmy is starting to get his rhythm. I think Kirk and D.J. (Augustin) are comfortable at the point. Mike Dunleavy has been solid throughout. Now we have some quality depth. Tony (Snell) did a good job with the minutes that he had. Naz (Mohammed) has been solid. But it’s the depth and getting your starting unit back together is huge.”


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