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Bulls' Doug McDermott returns to action Thursday following concussion

CHICAGO -- Bulls small forward Doug McDermott will play Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs after missing the past 11 games because of a concussion.

"It's been a long couple weeks," McDermott said after Thursday's shootaround. "But it finally feels good to be able to go out there and compete, so I'm excited."

McDermott suffered his first concussion on Oct. 31 in a win over the Brooklyn Nets and missed a game before returning. He suffered another concussion on Nov. 12 in a win over the Washington Wizards and has been out for almost a month.

"You've got to listen to your symptoms," McDermott said. "I think with the second one in such a short period of time, they wanted to be cautious. And I did, too. Because it's not like an ankle sprain or a knee deal, where you can play through things like that. It's your brain, so you want to be as sharp as possible."

The Bulls are banking on McDermott's 3-point shooting ability to help a bench that comes into Thursday's game shooting a league-worst 39.3 percent.

"I think we'll get our swagger back, too," McDermott said. "Once we get myself and Michael [Carter-Williams] back. We've been rotating guys that aren't used to playing with each other. Once we get some continuity there with that group, things will look better."

McDermott, in his third NBA season, is averaging 10.6 points in nine games.

"Adding another shooter like me is going to help guys like Niko [Mirotic], take pressure off Niko, take pressure off Isaiah [Canaan], thinking they need to hit shots," he said. "I think having three floor-spacers out there will really help all of us."

McDermott said he spent some time talking to Boston Celtics big man Al Horford as they dealt with concussion symptoms. Horford missed three weeks while dealing with a concussion of his own.

"I actually talked to him on the phone for about 30 minutes," McDermott said. "He was in the middle of his and I just had my second one. We kind of just talked about our symptoms and he really took his time, and you see his game has been really good since he's come back.

"People don't really understand it's a tough deal. Basketball can be physical. You see this a lot in football, but you really just got to be true to yourself, true to the doctors, because you don't want to mess around with these things."

Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said McDermott would not be on a minutes restriction, but would be watched closely as he gets back into playing shape.

"It's great to have Doug back," Hoiberg said. "Obviously he's been chomping at the bit to get himself back in the lineup. We just had to make sure everything went well and [he] passed all the necessary steps in the concussion protocol. ... He's excited to be back and we're certainly excited to have him."