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"We'll see," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Hamilton's prognosis after Monday's practice. "It could be a week, it could be two weeks, it could be longer. Once he feels good enough to play, he'll be back."
Hamilton missed 38 games last season because of various injuries, but Thibodeau said the veteran sharpshooter is taking the news in stride. "He's doing fine, in good spirits," Thibodeau said. "He actually worked out today. He's got some soreness, but he'll be fine." Thibodeau was noncommittal as to who would replace Hamilton in the starting lineup. Veteran Marco Belinelli and second-year swingman Jimmy Butler figure to be the likely candidates, but Thibodeau also noted that he could move veteran Kirk Hinrich over to the 2-guard position, which likely would mean that Nate Robinson would start at point guard. The Bulls host the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night, the first of four games in five nights. "Marco has started a lot of games before, Jimmy has played terrific all season long and we have some flexibility, too. Kirk can go to the 2, we'll be fine," Thibodeau said. "We're going to look at everything and take a look at what makes the most sense for us and we'll go from there." For his part, Butler said he would be fine with whatever decision Thibodeau makes, but he admitted he likes the rhythm he has gotten into alongside Taj Gibson coming off the bench. "I wouldn't mind that at all," Butler said of staying in a reserve role. "I was talking to (assistant coach Adrian Griffin) about it. I like being that spark off the bench with Taj. I feel like that gives me a lot more energy and just running out there with Taj, seeing the energy he gives off, the big plays that he makes, hustle plays. I kind of want to be like that coming off the bench. " Hinrich echoed those sentiments. He would be happy playing the point or shooting guard, if need be. "I'd be comfortable doing whatever," Hinrich said. "I've been working in the dummy offense at the 2 a little bit just so I would know it. I would have no problem with anything he did, to be honest. As long as it's what we wanted to do as a team and what direction we wanted to go with, which (Thibodeau) felt gave us the best chance to win." As usual, Thibodeau seemed confident that his team could experience success without Hamilton. "We have more than enough to win with," Thibodeau said. "The next guy has to step up, know what his job his, do his job and get it done."