With seven double-doubles in his last nine games, Carlos Boozer has helped keep the Bulls relevant with starters Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton out.

Boozer's strong play hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Other than the first month of his first year, he has been very durable,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said of Boozer. "He practices every day, he plays every day. You can count on his points and his rebounds. He has done a terrific job for us. There's a better understanding of what we're trying to get done.

"People have to search him out and you can play off him. He's a very unselfish player. If you cut and you're open, he's going to hit you. He plays the right way and has added a lot to our team. When you look at what he has done when we've had our whole team, the winning percentage is very high.''

Nate Robinson echoed his coach's high praise of Boozer, who had 29 points and 18 rebounds in Thursday night's victory at Brooklyn.

"Carlos has been holding it down all season,'' Robinson said. "He plays hard, does his thing and gets us going. We know we have to go inside-out for him and he's going to make it easy for everybody else.

He barely missed a double-double in Friday night's 87-86 victory over the Magic with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Backing out? Although Thibodeau sounded optimistic about both Noah (plantar fasciitis) and Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain) returning to action very soon, he wasn't as hopeful when discussing Hamilton's lingering lower back injury.