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Hinrich Out 12 Weeks

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 11, 2008 3:53PM

2008_11_hinrich.jpgRemember when we wondered whether the Bulls' backcourt depth was a blessing or a curse? We're now relieved that the team has so many guards on their roster who justify playing time, because they've had trouble keeping them healthy. Over the weekend, Kirk Hinrich suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb which will relegate him to street clothes for the next 12 weeks. Capt. Kirk, who had missed just 21 games in his first five seasons, could miss half of this one.

With Larry Hughes still out because of a dislocated shoulder, the team's suddenly shorthanded when it comes to ball handlers. The Bulls will have to play tonight's game against Atlanta shorthanded like they did against the Cavs on Saturday, with just Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon and Thabo Sefelosha healthy. Fortunately, it does look like Hughes is ready to return soon. He participated in the majority of the team's practice on Monday. The hope is for Hughes to return to action either Thursday against the Mavs or Saturday against the Pacers.

It's a good thing for the Bulls that their highly touted rookie has been even better than expected so far (17.7 points/3.9 rebounds/5.1 assists), because as the only point guard he'll be playing big minutes for the new couple months. And Ben Gordon, whose time with the team may be is limited, can expect plenty of playing time to showcase his skills -- whether the Bulls intend to trade him mid-season or he leaves as a free agent next summer. The one question we don't yet know yet is who, once Hughes returns to action, will start alongside Rose?

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh