Hinrich, Gibson to start

Tyrus Thomas to return to lineup on Saturday against New Orleans

Updated: December 24, 2009, 3:18 PM ET
By Bruce Levine |

Guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Taj Gibson will be fixtures in the Chicago Bulls' starting lineup for the foreseeable future.

Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro told reporters after Thursday's practice that Hinrich and Gibson would replace John Salmons and Brad Miller as starters. Del Negro played Hinrich and Gibson together in the lineup in the second half of the team's 88-81 loss to the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Del Negro also said that Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas participated in a full practice and is expected to come off the bench on Saturday against the New Orleans Hornets. Thomas suffered a broken arm in the first week of November during a weight-training session.

Asked again about his job security, Del Negro, whose Bulls are 4-13 in their last 17 games, told reporters to refer any questions about his performance to the team's upper management.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.