Luol Deng out, Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler in for Bulls-Nets on Christmas
Chicago will be without veteran swingman Luol Deng for its Christmas matchup in Brooklyn against the Nets, according to a tweet Wednesday morning from Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky.
The two-time All-Star Deng has been dealing with a lingering Achilles injury and hasn't appeared in a game since the Bulls' 15-point loss to the Houston Rockets on Dec. 18. Earlier this week, in an ESPNChicago.com report from Nick Friedell, Deng said he wanted to "shoot for Christmas" to return, and if not, the game after, when the Bulls host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
The good news for Chicago is the return of guard Kirk Hinrich, who missed the past five games with a back injury, and guard-forward Jimmy Butler, who was questionable heading into Christmas due to a sprained ankle.
In his 20 appearances so far this season, the 28-year-old Deng is averaging 19.6 points, seven rebounds, 4.1 assists and one steal in 38 minutes per game for the 10-16 Bulls, who are currently third in the Central Division. He has been rumored to be on the trading block for the better part of this past year, but Chicago said last week he is not going anywhere despite team's inquiring about his services.