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Deng doesn't practice, Butler improving

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls’ Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler did not practice Monday as they continue to work their way back from injury.

Deng, who initially injured his Achilles against the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 27, sat out Saturday's home loss to the Pistons and was only able to shoot at Monday's practice.

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau sounded hopeful that Butler, who has missed almost three weeks due to a turf toe injury he sustained in a Nov. 18 game against the Charlotte Bobcats, would be back on the floor soon.

"Lu's improved but he didn't practice today," Thibodeau said. "He did some shooting. Jimmy's improved -- didn't practice but did some shooting and is moving a lot better. Jimmy's probably 75 to 80 percent right now so (he's) got to get some conditioning and see where he is (Tuesday) and the next day."

Thibodeau was non-committal regarding Deng's availability for Tuesday night's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

"He's improved and I don't want to speculate," Thibodeau said. "We'll see where he is (Tuesday). He said he's feeling a lot better."

The good news for the Bulls is that veteran guard Mike James did practice. James is making his way back from a knee sprain he suffered last week.