With Derrick Rose (sprained left wrist) and Luol Deng (right calf strain) sitting somewhere between questionable and doubtful on the injured list, Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis, left foot) out for sure and Kirk Hinrich suspended for bumping a referee Friday in Miami, the Bulls are almost certain to use a lineup they've never tried before on Tuesday at Memphis.
A starting backcourt of Jannero Pargo and Flip Murray, with rookies James Johnson and Taj Gibson up front next to center Brad Miller seems like a strong possibility. But coach Vinny Del Negro wants to make sure there's no more bad luck before committing to anything.
"We still have to get from here to Memphis," Del Negro joked Monday at the Berto Center. "So I'm going to see what I have tomorrow, then we're going to shootaround and probably have a starting lineup. Then by game time, that could change. It could be raining in Memphis, someone could slip. You just never know. Maybe 30 seconds before tipoff, I'll let you know the starting lineup; give you a heads up."
Johnson and Pargo led the Bulls with 20 points each in Friday's loss to the Heat.
Raptors are reeling: One bit of good news for the Bulls is even while losing seven in a row, they're just a game out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That's because Toronto has been just as bad, losing nine of 10.
Raptors star and free-agent-in-waiting Chris Bosh delivered a pointed message following a recent loss in Golden State.
"We're supposed to be gearing up for playoff basketball and this is not playoff basketball," Bosh said in the Toronto Sun. "I'm glad I'm not one of the coaches. I wouldn't know what to do, either. I don't know how many speeches you can give. I don't know how many lineup changes there can be. I don't know."
Small steps for Noah: A day after Joakim Noah ran a little in practice, there wasn't much of an update to his injury status. He did spend more time on the zero-gravity treadmill at the Berto Center.
"I think he was maybe a little bit sore, which is natural," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We kind of held him out today so he can rest. We'll evaluate on a daily process and try to get him a little work tomorrow and see how he feels. Ride the bike and do the things where he doesn't have a lot of pounding on his foot."
Noah hasn't played Feb. 26 because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The Bulls planned to hold him out until at least March 24 to give the injury a chance to calm down.