The news didn't prove all bad Friday on the Bulls' injury front. Coach Tom Thibodeau said Taj Gibson has "been moving great," and the minutes limit for the versatile forward could be lifted.

Gibson missed 17 games over two stints while dealing with a sprained MCL in his left knee. With Joakim Noah limited, Gibson's ability to guard multiple positions will be invaluable.

"From a defensive standpoint, they are similar," Thibodeau said. "That's what makes both of those guys so good, their ability to guard virtually everyone on the floor.

"Taj and Jo are different offensively but both very efficient. Ideally, you'd like to have them both. But we'll see (Saturday). Taj's health is pretty good right now. That's encouraging."

Role reversal: In last season's first-round loss to the 76ers, Jimmy Butler played a mere four minutes as a rookie Thibodeau didn't trust. Now he's the starting shooting guard.

"It's a big honor," Butler said. "I feel like I've come a long way. I've worked extremely hard, both in the offseason and through this season. But I also feel whether I was starting or coming off the bench, I would just play my role."

Butler will draw Joe Johnson on defense.

"Hell of a challenge," Butler said. "He does everything well, like shoot it, take it to the basket, post up, get to the line. You've just got to make everything difficult for him and play him within the game."

Butler credited Luol Deng and former Bulls Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver for helping him learn during last season's playoffs even as he sat.