December 18, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg says he still thinks forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. will play this season.

Dunleavy is away from the team working with a specialist as he recovers from a back injury.

Hoiberg said Friday he is ''optimistic'' the veteran sharpshooter will suit up after being sidelined all season. He also understands the skepticism that Dunleavy will return, saying it's ''fair to question that, talk about it.''

The veteran sharpshooter was expected to be out eight to 10 weeks after having surgery in late September, but he experienced a setback in his recovery.

The 35-year-old Dunleavy re-signed with Chicago in July after he averaged 9.4 points and shot 40.7 percent from 3-point range in 63 games last season.

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