Deng (hip) sits; Noah, Belinelli return

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Just when the Chicago Bulls get a pair of injured players back, another one gets sidelined.

The Bulls will be without forward Luol Deng for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Pistons.

“My right hip is just a little sore,” Deng said before the game. “It’s nothing serious, just precautionary.”

Deng said the injury occurred on April 2 against Washington.

Deng said if Sunday’s game with the Pistons was a playoff contest he would have been able to play, but he didn’t know if he would be ready to go Tuesday at home against the Toronto Raptors.

“We’re trying to make sure things are cleared up at this time of the year,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.

The Bulls were almost even further short-handed as guard Kirk Hinrich wasn’t feeling well Sunday morning. That cleared up and Hinrich was able to play.

Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) and Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) were back in the lineup Sunday after both missed extended time and Thibodeau said their playing time would be limited.

“We’ll monitor what they’re doing out there,” Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau said the Bulls gave Noah, who missed eight games, an extended rest just to make sure he was back to full health.

“We wanted to make sure it was as cleared up as best as we could at this time of the year,” Thibodeau said. “He’s gotten a lot of treatment and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

Noah is averaging a double-double for the Bulls this season -- 12.1 points and 11.4 rebounds.

“I’m more concerned about what he does, the emotion (of returning) isn’t going to get you very far,” Thibodeau said. “It’s his defense, rebounding, playmaking, passing, efforts on the boards, screening. He’s a multi-effort guy, but he’s been out an extended amount of time so the thing is to get him back in rhythm and his timing going again. Obviously he’s a big part of the team.”

Belinelli missed the last seven games.

“You’re always faced with different challenges and injuries are part of the game,” Thibodeau said. “When someone goes down the next guy has to step up and get the job done. Our team has responded well to that challenge.”

Derrick Rose (ACL recovery), Rip Hamilton (lower back strain) and Taj Gibson (sprained MCL) still remain sidelined for the Bulls.

“(Hamilton) did a little bit more, but he’s got a ways to go,” Thibodeau said. “Derrick is the same. He’s just plugging along, doing well, but still quite not there. Taj is doing more and he’s actually feeling pretty well, so that’s encouraging.”