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updated: 1/2/2012 10:07 PM

Bulls' Hamilton, Watson both day-to-day

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There wasn't much definitive news Monday about the Bulls' two injured players.

Guard C.J. Watson had an MRI exam on his left elbow, but it appeared no serious damage was done when the elbow bent awkwardly as he hit the floor in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over Memphis.

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Coach Tom Thibodeau suggested it's likely Watson will not play Tuesday against Atlanta. It's not his shooting arm, though, so it seems likely Watson could return relatively soon.

"(Trainer) Fred (Tedeschi) saw him this morning and he said the swelling's not too bad," Thibodeau said. "It will be day to day, basically."

Shooting guard Richard Hamilton was a late scratch for the Memphis game because of a slight groin strain. He shot around Monday and will be a game-time decision for Atlanta.

"We'll see. It's a little better today than it was yesterday and the day before, so that's a good sign," Hamilton said. "Any time you get a groin injury, you don't want to rush it. I've had it in the past. It's one of those things we just want to be really careful about."

Hamilton said the injury occurred late in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, but he couldn't pinpoint the exact play.

Lucas set to step in:

Until C.J. Watson returns, John Lucas III will take over as backup point guard. He played for the first time this season Sunday against Memphis and knocked down his first 3 shots.

Fans at the United Center started yelling for Lucas to shoot whenever he got the ball, but he finished 3 of 7 from the field for 8 points and 2 assists in 10 minutes of action.

"My teammates were getting me more amped up than anything," Lucas said Monday. "I was trying to stay composed. The inner kid was about to come out of me, but I had to stay calm because we still had like nine minutes to go in the game and we wanted to finish strong -- no mistakes, run the offense. Finish a game that we put together so well yesterday."

Point-guard partners:

The Bulls put John Lucas' locker at the United Center next to Derrick Rose. The two also are shooting partners after practice.

Clearly, one of Lucas' roles on the team is to be a friend and mentor to Rose. Lucas, 29, is six years older and has been around the NBA all his life, since his dad of the same name was a longtime player who also coached three different teams.

"Basketball runs in his blood," Rose said. "John's cool. He knows the game. I call him a true point guard.

"He can definitely score the ball. But when he comes to practice, he picks people up half court, puts a lot of pressure on me. It's great playing against him."

As a college player, Lucas went to the Final Four with Oklahoma State in 2004. He spent two seasons with the Houston Rockets and also has played in Spain, Italy and China before joining the Bulls last year.

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