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Saturday, March 30, 2013
Noah, Belinelli out vs. Mavericks

By Jan Hubbard

DALLAS -- The Chicago Bulls were short-handed again on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks as Joakim Noah (right foot) missed his fourth consecutive game with plantar fasciitis and Marco Belinelli missed his third straight with an abdominal strain.

Rip Hamilton (back) missed his 14th consecutive game while there was nothing new on Derrick Rose, who has yet to make his season debut after undergoing ACL surgery on May 12.

Belinelli, who has an abdominal strain, is almost healthy enough to play.

"Both guys (Belinelli and Noah) are improving," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Marco is very close but we just want to make sure. [With] an abdominal strain, you've got to make sure he's right."

Thibodeau didn't say, however, if any of the players would be ready to play against Detroit on Sunday.

"Whenever they're ready," he said. "We want to be playing our best and we want to be as healthy as possible going down the stretch. If it means one more day or two more days, so be it. Just keep moving forward. But we want to be smart about it."

Jimmy Butler and Nazr Mohammad again were in the starting lineup. Butler had an excellent game Wednesday when the Bulls ended Miami's 27-game winning streak in Chicago, with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Thibodeau was asked if he continued to rest Noah and Belinelli because of the way Butler and Mohammad had performed.

"I don't look at it necessarily that way," he said. "I look at it how the team is performing and functioning. Both guys have done a good job. We need everybody. We've been shorthanded so you have to do it collectively and those guys have done a good job."

Asked about Rose's progress, Thibodeau said: "I just take it day by day and as long as he continues to improve, that's all we're concerned with. When he's comfortable he'll get out there."