Luol Deng in starting lineup

Updated: January 29, 2013, 6:46 PM ET
By Nick Friedell | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls All-Star forward Luol Deng returned to the starting lineup Monday night against the Charlotte Bobcats after missing the last five games with a hamstring injury.

"It felt great," said Deng, who played 31 minutes and scored 10 points. "It felt great. Honestly, I was a little worried. I haven't gone full speed like that. With the game, I was worried a little bit about the change of speed. So I'm happy that I was able to not have any setbacks or any problems.

"It felt a little tight, but it didn't feel like it felt before I (injured) it last time or how it felt when I first (injured) it in Toronto. It was definitely a different feeling."

Jimmy Butler headed back to the bench after giving a solid effort in Deng's place, averaging 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in his first extended stint in the starting lineup.

"Glad to have (Luol) back," Butler said Monday after the team's morning shootaround. "We're going to just keep going. Same role coming off the bench."

ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers contributed to this report.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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