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Article updated: 10/22/2013 7:31 AM

Bulls still waiting to get lineup healthy

By Mike McGraw

It's not like the Bulls made wholesale changes during the summer, but Derrick Rose is getting back into the swing of things during the preseason.

With all the injuries this month, the Bulls will not have their projected starting lineup intact until the regular-season opener, at the earliest.

Joakim Noah (groin strain), Jimmy Butler (bruised left knee) and Kirk Hinrich (concussion) sat out Monday's game against Milwaukee.

"It's hard, but you can't use it as an excuse," Rose said at Monday's shootaround. "You've still got to come out here and play these games and try to get better as a team. (The injured players are) on the sideline working. Kirk is getting back healthy. Joakim, he's good, and we're just waiting."

The Bulls have two preseason games remaining -- Wednesday against Oklahoma City in Wichita, Kan., and Friday against Denver at the United Center.

"We should be fine," Rose said. "The guys, they know their jobs. Jimmy, when he did play, his defense is what we need out of him. Joakim's energy, and you know Kirk, he's going to bring a solid game with running the team and knocking down open shots.

"So I think all the guys on the team know their role. It's just that we've got to get them out there."

Hinrich taking tests:

Kirk Hinrich provided a self-health update Monday afternoon. He suffered a concussion Friday against Indiana when he fell backward and struck the knee of teammate Erik Murphy.

"I've been doing tests every day," Hinrich said. "I'm feeling much better and I hope to get back out there as soon as I'm allowed to. I feel fine. Just following the proper protocols."

Jimmy Butler participated in all of Sunday's practice, then felt sore the next day, so he missed this third straight game. At this point neither Hinrich nor Butler seem in danger of missing the regular-season opener Oct. 29 at Miami.

Three-way battle continues:

The Bulls continue to carry 15 players on the roster. They won't keep everyone, but injuries to Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich might help the cause for center Dexter Pittman or point guard Mike James. Former Indiana Hoosiers forward D.J. White is the third player vying for a spot.

"The thing is, you're looking at whatever your needs are going to be," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I think sometimes it's going to be a guy who can play multiple positions. How does a guy handle not playing? Does he come in every day and does he stay ready? Is he good in practice? And then if you throw him in there, does he bring energy and understand what he's supposed to do?

"We've been fortunate here in the last three years to have some really good guys that have stepped up to handle that, when you look at guys like (Brian) Scalabrine, Kurt Thomas, John Lucas III … those guys did a terrific job for us."

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