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Kirk Hinrich sits out Bulls’ game vs. Pacers with sore foot

Ian Mahinmi Marco Belinelli

Ian Mahinmi, Marco Belinelli

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Updated: March 4, 2013 8:27PM



INDIANAPOLIS — If it seems as though Kirk Hinrich can’t stay healthy, it’s likely because he can’t.

After three solid performances since missing 10 of 11 games with an injured right elbow, Hinrich showed up at Bankers Life Fieldhouse wearing a walking boot on his right foot and missed the Bulls’ game Sunday against the Indiana Pacers. It was the 16th game he has missed because of injury this season.

‘‘Just a sore foot,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. ‘‘He doesn’t know [when he hurt it]. He said he woke up and had soreness in one of his toes.’’

Hinrich seemed to be getting into a groove since returning from his elbow injury. He had 11 points and 11 assists Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 15 points and eight assists Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers and 12 points and four assists — and played solid defense on Deron Williams — Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets.

‘‘This is an important stretch for us,’’ Hinrich said. ‘‘I think we’ve been playing some better basketball these last few games, and we have to keep it going. I’m feeling better, playing some bigger minutes. Just taking care of myself.’’

‘The resting thing’

After playing 41 minutes Saturday against the Nets, including the final 6:25 of the fourth quarter when the Bulls led by 14 or more points, center Joakim Noah tweaked Thibodeau a bit in admitting he was bushed.

‘‘We have a great coach, but he doesn’t understand the whole resting [thing] yet, I don’t think,’’ Noah said good-naturedly. ‘‘It’s all good. We all want to win, so it’s good.’’

Noah’s minutes are an issue mostly because he still is being treated for plantar fasciitis in his right foot. But Thibodeau didn’t appear to be offended.

‘‘I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the context in which he said it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘So I’m not going to comment on that.’’

Noah played 321/2 minutes against the Pacers.

More is better

It remains to be seen if Noah’s foot can handle the stress of heavy minutes, but it’s hard to argue Thibodeau’s point that his game has benefitted from the workload.

‘‘I think the added minutes have turned him from being an average player to an All-Star,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘If you pulled his minutes back to 28 or 30 minutes, then he goes back to nine [points] and nine [rebounds].

‘‘He’s shown he can handle it. He’s playing better and better. I want him to be mentally tough, physically tough and to keep improving.’’

Nazr comes to life

Backup center Nazr Mohammed was pulled after committing three fouls in four minutes in the fourth quarter against the Nets, but he made the most of his opportunity in the first half against the Pacers.

Playing most of the second quarter with Vladimir Radmanovic, Marco Belinelli, Marquis Teague and Jimmy Butler, Mohammad scored on two dunks and a tip-in and had two blocked shots, including one on a driving layup try by Paul George. He finished with seven points, five rebounds and two blocks.



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