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posted: 3/13/2012 10:47 PM

Bulls' Deng should be back to face Heat

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The Bulls should have forward Luol Deng back in the lineup for tonight's game against Miami. He skipped the past two games when his injured left wrist became especially painful.

Deng practiced Tuesday at the Berto Center but did not speak to reporters. He has been playing with a torn ligament in his left wrist since Feb. 4.

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"Hopefully (he'll play)," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I want to see how he feels after practicing today, but he went through everything in practice and he felt pretty good."

Backup point guard C.J. Watson was running, shooting and dribbling after practice, but his status still is questionable for tonight. Watson has missed five games with a sprained left ankle he suffered March 4 at Philadelphia.

"He's doing a little bit more," Thibodeau said. "He's not quite there, but we'll see tomorrow after the shootaround. There's a possibility."

Guard Richard Hamilton is out indefinitely with a bruised right shoulder. Derrick Rose skipped Tuesday's workout but is expected to play against the Heat.

"Just a little sore; rest. He's nicked up a little bit. Wear and tear," Thibodeau said. "Hopefully the rest will do him good."

The Bulls played without Deng when they lost 97-93 at Miami on Jan. 29. Rose scored 34 points in that game.

Things are heating up:

Fans are understandably hyped any time Miami visits the United Center, but the Bulls tried sticking to business on the eve of the first home game against the Heat since last year's Eastern Conference finals.

"Every game we do the same. The routine stays the same," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We know we have to defend, rebound.

"We've got to take care of the ball. That was one thing in the game down there we felt we didn't do a good job of. The way they convert turnovers into points, if they get into the open floor, they're hard to stop. We have to do a better job, more inside out."

Derrick Rose talked about the Heat following Monday's win over New York.

"It's big because it's our next game. That's the way we look at it," he said. "They're going to be charged. They're coming in here; they beat us last time. They're a good team, playing good right now. It's going to be a battle."

Joakim Noah tried to inject some enthusiasm for this game, but even he was low-key.

"Everybody knows that tomorrow is a big game, and we're all excited," Noah said. "They have a lot of great players on that team. Miami's the team that went to the Finals, that eliminated us last year, so you want to set the tone tomorrow."

Heat keeps busy:

The Bulls should have an advantage for tonight's game because Miami played Tuesday at Orlando. "I'd like to get a day off," Dwyane Wade told reporters in Miami. "But there's nothing you can do. You've got to play them We'll be fine. It's a game you get up for It's unfortunate that we have to face them that way, but it's going to be a good game."

Butler gets more time:

Rookie forward Jimmy Butler set career highs in minutes played the past two games. He logged a total of 57 minutes while Luol Deng rested a sore wrist.

Deng is expected to play against Miami, but coach Tom Thibodeau might give Butler a chance to guard LeBron James.

"We'll see. Again, we're still short-handed," Thibodeau said. "We don't know who we're going to have. We're not afraid to put (Butler) out there. He's done a good job for us."

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