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- The Bulls will be understaffed again Saturday at Atlanta, where two starters are out and a third is questionable for an important game against the Hawks. Center Joakim Noah (right foot injury) and guard Kirk Hinrich (right elbow) will not play. Also, Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau did not say whether power forward Carlos Boozer will play. He’s missed two straight games with a sore right hamstring. “He’ll warm up,” Thibodeau said. Boozer was not listed as an inactive, but will not start, either. The Bulls (28-18) have the third-best record in the East, and the Hawks (26-19) are sixth.
- Taj Gibson will start at center, where the 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward will have his hands full with Atlanta’s Al Horford. Nazr Mohammed started in the pivot Friday at Brooklyn, but played just under eight minutes (four points, one rebound).
- Jimmy Butler (6-7) will start for Boozer, although Luol Deng may matchup more often against Atlanta power forward Josh Smith.
- Nate Robinson will start again at point guard for Hinrich.
- Hawks reserve center Zaza Pachulia will miss his second straight game with a sore right Achilles’ tendon. This will be the third game of five that he’s missed because of the injury.
- Atlanta signed guard Jannero Pargo to a second 10-day contract. He averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 assists in five games during the first contract, and played more than 21 minutes in each of his first three games with the team.
- Noah told reporters after the Brooklyn game that his foot was swelling and his was battling a return of plantar fascitis.
- Hinrich has returned to Chicago to have his elbow further examined. He cut it earlier this season, and has battled pain in it this week.
– Matt Winkeljohn